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LUTTERWORTH 

THE STORY OF 
JOHN WYCLIFFE'S TOWN 

A.H.DYSON 



LUTTERWORTH 




VIKW OK LUTTKRWORTH FROM liRllxiK 



LUTTERWORTH 

JOHN WYCLIFFE'S TOWN 

BY 

A. H. DYSON 

// 
EDITED BY 

HUGH GOODAGRE 



WITH TWENTY-ONE ILLUSTRATIONS 



METHUEN & CO. LTD. 

36 ESSEX STREET W.Q 

LONDON 



First Published in igij 



PREFACE 

ARCH. 'OOLOGY spreads a broad net, and 
much of its best spade-work has been done 
by men who owe their education entirely to 
their own industry and perseverance. We have 
had a notable instance of this in Leicestershire in 
the person of Richard Fowke of Elmsthorpe, the 
friend of Nichols, to whom the county historian 
was indebted for much valuable information. Another 
such a one we now possess in Mr. A. H. Dyson, 
one of the best respected tradesmen in Lutterworth. 
With an enthusiastic persistence he has accumulated 
such a mass of material connected with the history 
of his native town as to render the task of the 
editorial sieve by no means an easy one. Friends, 
however, have not been lacking, and I have to 
record my indebtedness to the Earl of Denbigh 
for permission to reproduce some of the valuable 
portraits in his collection at Newnham Paddox ; 
to the Lady Agnes Feilding for the section dealing 
with the Feilding family; to Mr. S. Perkins Pick 
and Mr. C Bassett-Smith for notes on the archi- 



vi LUTTERWORTH 

tectural features of the parish church ; to Major 
Stoney-Smith for leave to reprint the interesting 
reminiscences of William Green ; and to numerous 
other friends who have rendered me assistance in 
one way or another. 

Both Mr. Bottrill and Mr. J. Abbott have already 
published excellent cheap handbooks to Lutterworth, 
but it has long been felt that the town offered 
ample material for a more ambitious work, and 
it is hoped that the present book will possess an 
interest, not merely for the inhabitants of Lutter- 
worth, but for the general reading public and for the 
thousands of visitors to the shrine of Wycliffe who 
annually traverse the streets of this little midland 
town. 

As far as my own work is concerned it has been 

a labour of love. 

HUGH GOODACRE 

Ullesthorpe Court 
"^th July 19 13 



CONTENTS 



Preface ....... 

I. Geographical and Physical Features 
II. In the Days of the Romans 

III. The Anglo-Saxon Period 

IV. Norman Lutterworth and its Early Lords 

V. Lutter\vorth from the Fourteenth to the 
Sixteenth Centuries . 

VI. St. Mary's Church 

VII. John Wycliffe 

VIII. The Lollards 

IX. The John of Gaunt Fresco 

X. The Holy Well of St. John 

XI. The Rebuilding of the Church 

XII. The Fresco over the Chancel Arch 

XIII. Wycliffe Relics preserved in the Church 

XIV. Lutterworth in the Time of the Civil War 

XV. The Feildings, Lords of the Manor of Luttkr 
worth ...... 

XV'I. Administration of Law in Lutterworth 

XVII. Trade in Lutterworth 



PACE 
V 

I 

3 
9 



23 
29 

32 
40 
42 
46 
48 
53 
55 
57 

63 
80 
86 



Vlll 



LUTTERWORTH 



XVIII. The Mills ...... 

XIX. The Great Storm of 1703, and Destruction of 
THE Church Spire ..... 

XX. Lutterworth, i 750-1 800 .... 

XXI. The Last of the Resident Feildings 

XXII. The Restoration of the Church and Discovery 
of Glass Vial, 1865-70 .... 
The Windows— The Bells— The Fonts— The 
Organs— The Church Plate— The Lectern 
—The Reredos— The Alderson Chair— The 
Monuments— List of Rectors 

XXIII. Notable Lutterworth Families 

XXIV. William Green ..... 
XXV. Amos Drake Miles .... 

XXVI. Sports and Pastimes .... 

XXVII. Cricket 

XXVIII. The Murder of John Parsons Cook 

XXIX. Mechanics Institution 

XXX. The Horticultural and Cottage Gardeners 
Society ..... 

XXXI. The Gooseberry Show Society 

XXXI I. Local Charities .... 

Appendix (a) Brief for Repairing the Church 

„ (i) Charity Commission Report 

„ (c) Population of Lutterworth . 

Index ..... 



PAce 
89 



94 
99 

107 

no 



133 

140 

155 
159 
164 
170 
176 

178 
179 
182 
185 
190 
192 

193 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



View of Lutterworth from Bridge 

Photo, Taunt, Oxford 



. Frontispiece 

FACING PACK 

12 



Anglo-Saxon Jewel found at Newton 
Glass Vial found at Lutterworth Church . .12 

Cromwellian Plate Chest from Lutterworth Church . 12 
Plan of Lutterworth Church . . . • 30 

By C. Bassett-Smith 

Portrait of John Wycliffe . . . . -32 

From the painting in the possession of the Earl of Denbigh 

John of Gaunt Fresco in Lutterworth Church . . 42 

From a drawing by T. C. Barfield 

West Arch of Lutterworth Church . . -52 

From a drawing by T. C. Barfield 

Interior of Lutterworth Church showing Fresco over 

Chancel Arch ...... 54 

Photo, F. D. Jarrom 

Elizabethan Communion Table in Lutterworth Church 56 

Photo, F. D. Jarrom 

Cole Arms, Laughton Church . . . . .60 

From a drawing by T. C. Barjield 

Portrait of First Earl of Denbigh . . . .68 

From the painting in the possession of the Far I of Denbigh 

Portrait of Susan, Countess of Denbigh . . .72 

From the painting in the possession of the Earl of Denbigh 

Iron Gates at Newnham Paddox . . . .78 

Photo, Speight, Rugby 

Restoration of Lutterworth Church Spire . , 96 

From a drawing by C Bassett-Smith 

Two Pairs of Brasses in Lutterworth Church . .128 

Portraits of the Rev. Richard Wilson and his Wife . 134 

From paintings in the possession of 1 1 ugh (ioudaire, F.Sij. 

Feilding Tomb, in Lutterworth Church . . .136 

Miniature of John Goodacre, Esq., of Ullesthorpe . 136 

In the possession of Hugh Goodacre, Esq. 



IX 



-41 



LUTTERWORTH 

THE STORY OF JOHN WYCLIFFE'S TOWN 

I 

GEOGRAPHICAL AND PHYSICAL 
FEATURES 

THE small Leicestershire market town of 
Lutterworth stands on an eminence especially 
marked as we approach it from the south, and 
forms a charming picture with its pinnacled church 
rising above the roofs of its houses and the little river 
Swift meandering through the meadows in the valley 
below. 

In spite of the rush of express trains through its 
outskirts and the vibration of motor-cars through its 
streets, it wears to-day much the same air of somno- 
lent respectability which it wore in the early days of 
the last century. It is the centre of a rich grazing 
district, 13 miles south by west of Leicester, 13 miles 
west of Market Harborough, 8 miles north of Rugby, 
and 89 miles north-west by north of London, with a 
station on the Great Central Railway. 

In common with several other places, Lutterworth 

claims the distinction of being the central town of the 

kingdom ; but, however debatable this may be, there 

is one point in connexion with its situation which 

I 



2 LUTTERWORTH 

admits of no gainsaying : it stands upon one of the 
most important watersheds in the British Isles. 
This is a fact demonstrable every rainy day, when 
the water coursing down the High Street to the 
Swift is borne by the Avon to the Severn and out 
into the Atlantic, while within two miles north of 
the town the water finds its way by a small brooklet 
into the river Soar and thence by the Trent into the 
Humber and the German Ocean. 

At Gilmorton, a neighbouring village, the situa- 
tion is accentuated, for here the church stands at the 
parting of the ways and the waters on the north 
flow northwards, while those on the south follow 
the opposite direction. 

This phenomenon was known to the poet Drayton 
( 1 563-1 651), who described the Swift as "a little 
brook which, forsaking her sister the Soar, applies 
herself wholly to the Avon." 

In olden days there was apparently a further 
natural phenomenon which distinguished our town, 
for in British Cttriosities in N attire and Art, pub- 
lished in 1713, we are informed that Lutterworth 
was chiefly remarkable "for that near it is a water 
that petrifieth (or turneth to stone) wood and stubble." 
This apparently has reference to a spring of water in 
a field in the Woodmarket, opposite the residence of 
Dr. Fagge, and still known as " Spring Close." It 
would seem to have lost its petrifying properties, if in 
reality it ever had any. 

Having thus defined the geographical situation 
of our town and referred to its principal physical 
features, we are now in a position to begin our story. 



II 

IN THE DAYS OF THE ROMANS 

THERE are various ways of beginning a story. 
The antiquary sometimes begins at the end. 
This may savour somewhat of an Irishism, 
yet, for all that, it has much to recommend it when 
treating of the remote past, for by working back 
from the known to the unknown, and linking certainty 
to uncertainty, he is enabled to forge a stronger chain 
than by pursuing the reverse process. 

But as our book makes no claim to be regarded 
as a learned antiquarian treatise, and as our soil has 
hitherto yielded no relic of primitive man, we shall 
make bold to commence exactly where it best suits 
our own convenience, neither at the becjinnine nor 
at the end, but at that moment in the history of our 
country when the legions of Imperial Rome had 
made themselves master of what are now known 
as "the Midlands." This was somewhere about the 
middle of the first century a.d. 

It would be out of place here to enter into a 
lengthy consideration of the conditions of England 
under the Roman domination, as there is no evidence 
of Lutterworth's existence at that date ; on the con- 
trary, its very name suggests a later origin. At the 
same time, the proximity of the important town of 



4 LUTTERWORTH 

Ratae (Leicester) and the station Venonae at the 
hamlet of Bittesby, in the parish of Claybrook, make 
it permissible to picture to ourselves our primeval 
woods, still the haunt of wolf, of deer, and of wild 
boar, echoing the tread of some stroller from the 
great military roads which already traversed this 
part of the country. 

And of these roads there are two of the first 
importance, passing now, as then, within a few miles 
of our town, the Watling Street and the Fosse Way. 
The former was the great north road of the Romans, 
starting at Richborough on the coast of Kent, 
passing through Canterbury, Rochester, and London, 
and reaching Leicestershire near the village of 
Catthorpe. From here it forms the boundary be- 
tween Leicestershire and Warwickshire for about i8 
miles, and then, crossing the Anker at Witherby, 
proceeds on its way to Tommen-y-Manor in Wales, 
where it divides into two branches, the one running 
by Beddgelert to Carnarvon and Holyhead, and the 
other by Chester and Manchester to Scotland. The 
other Roman road to which we have referred, the 
Fosse Way, was the great highway between the 
south-west and the north-east of Britain. It enters 
Leicestershire at High Cross, in the parish of Clay- 
brook, 5j miles as the crow flies north-west of Lutter- 
worth, and, crossing the Watling Street, proceeds in 
the direction of Leicester. At the point where the 
two roads intersect a monument was erected at the 
instance of Basil, Earl of Denbigh, in 1712. 

It was long assumed that the station Venonae 
was situated at High Cross itself, but Mr. Barnett, in 
Leicestershire and Rutland Notes and Queries (vol. i. 



L\ THE DAYS OF THE ROiMANS 5 

p. 37), has given good reasons for believing that this 
assumption was incorrect. The Itinerary of Antonius, 
in the Second Iter, states the distance of Venonae 
from Manduessedo (Mancetta) as xii m.p., the 
Roman mile [nii/le pass7is) being about equal to our 
own. Now 12 miles along the Watling Street from 
Mancetta carries us to a spot about 2 miles beyond 
High Cross, and here, in a field still known as "the 
Old or Great Township," and which tradition asserts 
to be the site of a buried city, have been found in- 
dubitable traces of a Roman settlement. Corrobora- 
tive evidence is also afforded by the Iter itself, which 
places the west station Beneventa at xvii m.p. from 
Venonae. Now at precisely this distance from the 
Old Township, between Norton and Whilton on the 
Watling Street, have been unearthed remains testify- 
ing to the former existence there of a Roman station 
of some importance. 

These discoveries brin"- Venonae almost within 
the boundaries of the civil parish of Lutterworth, 
and make it allowable for us to include a visit to 
the Old Township in our history. Taking the 
Coventry Road, in about 2h miles we reach the 
Watlinor Street at what is known as the Cross-in- 
hand. Turning abruptly to the right, we follow the 
ancient way for a little over a mile, when we come to 
a level crossing over the Midland Railway, and a 
little distance beyond to a gate on the right-hand 
side leading to a footpath to Ullcsthorpe. Follow- 
ing this footpath, we soon find ourselves in a large 
grass field. This is the Old Township, and at the 
extreme corner, near the railway embankment, the 
uncvenness of the ground discloses what is believed 



6 LUTTERWORTH 

to be the site of the ancient Venonae. When the 
line was in course of construction numerous objects 
were unearthed hereabouts ; but unfortunately no 
record of their nature or the exact spot where they 
were found has been preserved. Many of these 
objects came into the hands of the late Mr. Simons 
of Ullesthorpe ; but his son, who died a few years ago, 
was unable to state what had become of them, nor 
could he recall of what they consisted. From the 
fact that the railway travels over an embankment at 
the point indicated as the site of the buried city, it is 
probable that anything unearthed here was found in 
excavating for ballast at the side of the line. In an 
old newspaper we read that workmen engaged on the 
line came upon the foundations of a Roman villa at 
Bittesby (the hamlet in which the Old Township is 
situated). It disclosed a building of considerable 
dimensions, with a beautiful tessellated pavement and 
the remains of a bath. 

In 1725 some men digging for clay in Lutterworth 
are reported to have unearthed sixty denarii and a 
few large brass coins. The former comprised coins 
of Julius Caesar, Trajan, and Vespasian. 

Evidence of the Roman occupation of this part 
of the country has also come to light, not merely in 
the Old Township, but in the neighbourhood of High 
Cross, and, quite recently, a well and part of a paved 
way have been discovered at Wibtoft on the Watling 
Street between Bittesby and High Cross. In the 
small museum at Ullesthorpe Court is a denarius of 
Domitian and a little brass imitation of a Roman 
coin such as was in circulation in this country after 
the withdrawal of the Romans. Both were ploughed 



IN THE DAYS OF THE ROMANS 



up at High Cross. Slightly farther afield, namely, 
at Ashby Parva, a first brass coin of Hadrian was 
found in the rectory garden a few years since. 
This, too, is preserved in the same collection. It 
bears on the obverse the laureate head of the 
Emperor with the legend Hadrianvs Avgvstvs 
p.p., and on the reverse Hilaritas holding a palm 
branch and cornucopia, standing between two chil- 
dren, and reads Hilaritas p.r. cos. hi s.c. In 
the Luttoivoyth Parish Magazine for April 1865 
the late Archdeacon Pownall described a hoard 
of Roman coins said to have been found in Lutter- 
worth itself in the previous year. Doubtless the 
insane laws of Treasure Trove which have wrouijht 
the destruction of countless treasures are responsible 
for the concealment of the precise provenance. The 
coins, which were all of the base metal known as 
" billon," consisted of — 



Name. 


Date. 


Number. 




A.D. 




Volusianus 


252-254 


I 


Valerianus 


253-260 


3 


Gallienus 


254-26S 


33 


Salonina (wife of Gallienus) 




I 


Saloninus (son of Gallienus) 


— 


I 


Postumus 


258-268 


37 


Victorinus . 




265-267 


130 


Marius 




267 


I 


Tetricus, sen. 




268-272 


I 


Tetricus, jun. 




268-272 


2 


Claudius Gothicus 




16S-270 


16 


Quintillus . 




270 


5 


TotJ 


il . 


_ ., 


231 



Throsby, the historian, has left the record of 
having himself seen a fine Roman urn found at 



8 LUTTERWORTH 

Bittesby, and the Rev. A. Macaulay, in his History 
of Claybrook, quoting from Gough's Camden, says 
that " Mr. Lee of Leicester had a Roman urn 
found in digging a vault (apparently at or near High 
Cross) for the late Lord Denbigh with eleven more, 
covered with Roman bricks." 



Ill 

THE ANGLO-SAXON PERIOD 

NO history exists which tells of the commence- 
ment of our town. All that can be gathered 
must be inferred from the general history of 
the time to which its name leads us to assign its 
origin. 

Of the three main Teutonic invasions of this 
country, that by the Angles was undoubtedly of the 
greatest moment, and yet, curiously enough, as Prof. 
Church points out, we know less of the Angles than 
of either of their forerunners, the Jutes and the 
Saxons. Ptolemy speaks of them as inhabiting part 
of the left bank of the river Elbe ; but later on we find 
them living in that projecting piece of land known as 
the Cimbric peninsula containing Holstein, Schleswig, 
and Jutland. It is from this country that Bede speaks 
of them as migrating in such numbers that their own 
homes were left desolate. And just as we know less 
of the antecedents of the Angles than of the other 
stocks of Germanic conquerors, so there is no part of 
the Teutonic conquest of England more obscure than 
that of the Midlands by the Mercians. That these 
" Men of the Marshes " were Angles from the eastern 
parts of the country is certain ; but it is probable 
that they contained an admixture of Saxons from 



10 LUTTERWORTH 

the west. Evidence of this is found in the lack of 
unity of feehng and action which characterized the 
other states, and may even be traced to a certain 
extent in the relics preserved in the district. Prob- 
ably we shall not be far wrong in assigning the 
first settlement of our Anglo-Saxon predecessors in 
Lutterworth to about the close of the sixth or the 
beginning of the seventh century a.d. 

The chronicler has preserved a terrible picture 
of the ruthless pagans who overran our land, 
plundering cities and country alike, spreading con- 
flagration from east to west. Public as well as 
private structures were overturned, priests were slain 
before the altars, prelates and people, without respect 
of persons, were destroyed with fire and sword, nor 
was there any to bury them. Some, with sorrowful 
hearts, fled beyond the seas ; others, continuing in 
their own country, led a miserable existence among 
the woods and mountains, with scarcely enough food 
to support life and expecting every moment to be 
their last. 

But from this chaotic beginning was gradually 
evolved the civilization which has made the England 
of to-day. As these invaders took possession of the 
land their chiefs divided it amongst themselves and, 
settling on their possessions with their families and 
followers, turned their attention to the cultivation of 
the soil. As a rule they avoided the buildings and 
walled towns of the former civilization, preferring 
to make clearings for themselves in the primeval 
forests. These family settlements frequently became 
known by the name of the chief to whom they be- 
longed, and with a termination descriptive of the nature 



THE ANGLO-SAXON PERIOD li 

of the holding have remained with us to-day as 
memorials of our remote ancestors, more durable than 
any other which could have been devised. As was 
natural in the turbulent days in which they were 
erected, many of the dwellings were surrounded by 
a stockade, a feature preserved in the suffixes yard^ 
stoke, and ivorth (Anglo-Saxon wcorthig). 

With this information at our disposal it is not 
difficult to see how our town originated. It was, in 
fact, none other than the fortified enclosure of a chief- 
tain whose name, in all probability, is pronounced 
to-day as it was thirteen centuries ago, for it is 
interesting to note that the name Lutter also survives 
in the Duchy of Brunswick, where we find both a 
Lutter and a Lutterberg. 

Of this Lutter who settled in Leicestershire in 
the sixth or seventh century we have no further 
record ; but still to him we look with filial veneration 
as the first definite form emerging from the shadow- 
land of our Past. And then, just as in nature after 
the promise of dispersion, the mists again collect and 
gloom once more settles down, so after this one faint 
rift in the clouds darkness again descends upon us — a 
darkness more intense than that which preceded it ; 
and when the curtain next rises it is' no longer the 
Saxon thane and earl who rule the land, but the 
Norman conqueror. Of the centuries which inter- 
vened between the coming of the Saxon and the 
coming of the Norman we have practically no trace 
in Lutterworth (jr its immediate neighbourhood, 
and we can only point to a jewel found at Wibtoft, 
and now preserved in the Rugby School Museum, 
as evidence of the Germanic occupation of these parts. 



12 LUTTERWORTH 

There is yet one other example of Saxon work- 
manship which, although it can hardly be said to 
have been found within the immediate neighbourhood 
of Lutterworth, may nevertheless, by reason of its 
destination, be mentioned here. It was found at 
Newton in Clifton-upon-Dunsmore in 1843 with other 
articles of the early Saxon period, and passed into 
the hands of Mr. Goodacre of Lutterworth, who 
owned the land upon which the discovery was made. 
This jewel, which was characterized by the late Sir 
Augustus Franks as " an exquisite specimen of 
Anglo-Saxon goldsmith's work," may be described 
as a semi-globe of dark coloured glass set in a circlet 
of gold with a plate of gold at the back and loop for 
suspension. The delicacy of the beading round the 
rim and the wreath-like ornamentation of the loop is 
unrivalled. We give an illustration of this object, 
which is now in the Ullesthorpe Court Museum. 




— X 



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S&-X *-* 



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IV 

NORMAN LUTTERWORTH AND 
ITS EARLY LORDS 

WITH the Norman period we come into 
touch with written history, and on turn- 
ing to the Domesday Book we find that 
Ralph de Guader had been possessed of lands here, 
and this at once brin^rs on to our stacre an in- 
teresting personality of the days of the Conquest. 
Ralph de Guader, or, as some of the old chronicles 
call him, Raulf de Gael, was a Breton seigneur 
who had become Earl of Norfolk. A marriage 

o 

was arranged between him and Emma, sister of 
Roger Fitz Osbern, Earl of Hereford. For some 
reason or other this alliance was distasteful to the 
King, who was in Normandy at the time. He dis- 
patched an express order forbidding the marriage 
to be concluded ; but the parties paid no heed to it, 
and the wedding took place at Exning in Suffolk. 
Ralph then brought his bride to Norwich, and there, 
in the newly erected castle, was held a " bride-ale " 
which, as the Saxon chronicler says, proved fatal to 
all present. Wine (lowed freely, the tongues of the 
guests became loosened, and Roger de Hereford 
loudlv censured the refusal of Kinfj William to 
sanction the union of his sister with the Earl of 

«3 



14 LUTTERWORTH 

Norfolk. From this the guests proceeded to general 
invectives against the Conqueror, and in the end 
formed a plot to dispossess him of the crown. The 
conspirators were, however, speedily defeated, and 
Ralph, escaping to Brittany, left his gallant wife to 
sustain the siege of his castle at Norwich. This she 
did for three months, until obliged under pressure of 
famine to capitulate in exchange for the lives of 
herself and garrison. She subsequently joined her 
husband in Brittany, and they eventually ended their 
days in the Holy Land. Before returning to England 
William made an incursion into Brittany in pursuit 
of Earl Ralph, but after besieging the town of Dol 
was obliged to beat a retreat before the forces of the 
King of France. On his return to London for the 
Christmas of 1075 the King deprived Earl Ralph of 
all his estates, and so ended his connexion with 
Lutterworth, which, with his other possessions, re- 
verted to the Crown. 

From the Domesday Survey which was completed 
between the years 1081-86 we gather that the lands 
of which Ralph de Guader had formerly been pos- 
sessed in Lutterworth (or Lutresurde, as it is spelt) 
were then held by one Maino, the Breton. We know 
nothing of him ; but in the light of the tragic events 
just narrated, the nationality of Ralph's successor 
opens up a fruitful field for speculation. 

According to the Survey, Maino held of the King 
thirteen carucates of land in Lutterworth, or, as 
Mr. Thompson in his valuable paper on " The Secular 
History of Lutterworth," from which we have freely 
borrowed, puts it, " Maino, the Breton, had a tract of 
land equivalent to 1500 or 1600 acres." We gather 



NORMAN LUTTERWORTH AND EARLY LORDS 15 

that there was at the time a population of twenty-seven 
males, twelve of whom were of an inferior class of 
landowners called sokemen living under the juris- 
diction of the lord of the Manor, seven cottagers 
holding small allotments in return for menial services 
performed for the lord, six peasant farmers, and two 
serfs who were at the arbitrary disposal of their lord. 
Besides these there was one bondswoman, a humble, 
pathetic figure to have travelled down the centuries ! 
Mr. Thompson, whose paper was read at a meeting 
of the Leicestershire Archaeological Society held at 
Lutterworth about forty years ago, proceeded to 
make an interesting comparison between the number 
of sokesmen in other market towns of similar position 
to Lutterworth, from which he concluded that Lutter- 
worth appeared to have had a relatively larger pro- 
portion, pointing to a more numerous independent 
class than most of the other places. Altogether, 
assuming the twenty-seven male inhabitants to have 
been heads of families consisting of five individuals, 
the population of Lutterworth at the Conquest would 
have been about 135 souls. 

Maino was succeeded in the ownershipof the Manor 
of Lutterworth by his son Hamo, who conveyed his 
inheritance here to Bertram de Verdun by a document, 
the contents of which are still extant and may be 
rendered into English as follows : — 

" Hamo the son of Maino, to all his Frenchmen 
and Englishmen, as well present as to come, health ! 
Know ye that I have rendered and granted to Bertram 
Verdun and his heirs, Lutterworth, with all the 
appurtenances, by hereditary law, to be held of me 
and my heirs, by one knight's fee. And, in considera- 



i6 LUTTERWORTH 

tion of this Bertram has given to me thirteen marks 
of silver and a coat of mail, and greaves and three 
horses. These being witnesses : Henry the son of 
M., Alan his brother, and M. de Verdun, William 
Mansell and Alan son of Geoffrey and Roger the 
clerk." 

The terms of this ancient deed give a vivid picture 
of the usages of the time shortly after the Conquest. 
The holding by a knight's fee meant that the new 
proprietor was under the obligation of providing his 
lord with a horse-soldier for forty days in each year 
when called upon so to do. It is difficult to estimate 
the value of the cash transaction. The mark was a 
money of account and represented about 1 20 pennies 
of that date ; but of course the purchasing value of a 
penny in Norman times has little analogy to that of 
a penny of to-day. 

Bertram de Verdun, who thus became connected 
with Lutterworth, was one of the earliest members of 
the great house of de Verdun whose castle was at 
Alveton, or Aulton, in Staffordshire. Here, genera- 
tion after generation, the de Verduns, lords of the 
Manor of Lutterworth, lived in feudal grandeur, only 
knowing our town by an occasional visit or through the 
reports of their stewards, who presided in their courts 
and received the rents and service due from their 
tenants. 

On the decease of Bertram de Verdun, in the year 
1 1 39, his son Norman became lord of the Manor, 
paying King Stephen 100 shillings for the transfer to 
him of his father's Leicestershire estates — an early 
instance of death-duties ! He had a long tenure, 
not dying until 1192, when he was followed by 



NORMAN LUTTERWORTH AND EARLY LORDS 17 

another Bertram, who was sheriff of the counties of 
Leicester and Warwick for several years. He was 
twice married, his second wife being Roesia, the 
foundress, jointly with her son, of the Hospital of 
St. John, near our own town. 

Bertram de Verdun died in 1195, and was suc- 
ceeded in turn by his two sons, Thomas and Nicholas, 
.the latter of whom joined with his mother in the found- 
ing of the Hospital of St. John, which was built 
upon a piece of land known as the Warren, adjoining 
Misterton. It was intended to provide a house for 
one priest and six poor men and to keep hospitality 
for poor wayfarers. The following facts concerning 
this foundation are of interest. It was dedicated to 
St. John the Baptist, and, as already seen, was built 
upon land called "the Warren." From the episcopal 
registers at Lincoln it is evident that the foundations 
were laid in the year 12 18, during the reign of King 
John, but it was not until the following reign that it 
was endowed and consecrated. 

A fourth part of sixteen marks was paid to the 
Hospital out of the revenue of the parish church in 
1220. 

The statutes for the Hospital's regulation were 
drawn up soon after the year 13 10, under the sanction 
of the Bishop of Lincoln, and are still preserved 
among the episcopal records. 

In addition to the endowments already specified 
the Hospital possessed lands at Hillmorton in 1329, 
and at Cotesbach, Shawell, and Bitteswell at different 
times. 

In 1445 the {patronage of the foundation belonged 
to Edward, Lord Grey of Groby, by virtue of his 
2 



i8 LUTTERWORTH 

marriage with Elizabeth, sole daughter and heir of 
Sir William Ferrers, Lord of Groby. 

The following names of Masters of the Hospital 
have been preserved : — 

William Vesey, 1420. 

Simon Smith, resigned 1455. 

Richard Walsee, Bishop of Down and Conner. 

Hugh Leys, 1475. 

Win. Rufus Clark, 15 17. 

The Duke of Suffolk bequeathed an annuity to 
the priest of this Hospital for prayers for the repose 
of his soul, and also made provision for the main- 
tenance of the building ; but this latter provision 
would not appear to have been very effectual seeing 
that in the reign of Queen Mary, to whom the 
Hospital passed upon the attainder of the Duke, 
the foundation is described as deserted and falling 
into ruin, while, early in the reign of her successor, 
it was completely demolished and the land which 
had formed its endowment sold. 

During the making of the new road to Misterton, 
upon the construction of the G.C.R., the workmen 
came across quantities of rubble, evidently marking 
the site of the Hospital and showing that it had 
been built in the same manner as the church. A 
little farther on they unearthed a number of human 
bones, no doubt the remains of inmates of the 
Hospital buried in their own secluded graveyard 
more than five hundred years ago. 

Nicholas de Verdun held the Manor (with a short 
interval of dispossession on his joining the insurgent 
barons in 12 16) until the year 1230. In 12 14 the 
King made him the grant of a market for Lutterworth. 



NORMAN LUTTERWORTH AND EARLY LORDS 19 

He was succeeded by his only child, a daughter, 
named after her grandmother, Roesia, By command 
of Henry HI her hand was given in marriage to 
Theobald le Butiller, but by reason of her exceptional 
position she retained the name and arms of her 
ancestors and passed on the name of de Verdun to 
her descendants. She died in 1247, and was succeeded 
by her son John, who remained lord of the Manor 
until 1273, when his brother Theobald, aged twenty- 
two, followed in the line of inheritance. 

At this stage we are again in a position to take 
stock of our town. At an inquest it was reported 
that Lutterworth was of the fee of Verdun and held 
of the King by Theobald de Verdun, who had in 
domain three and a half virgates of land and one 
water-mill. He also had in vilkinage forty virgates 
held by thirty-six serfs, and in free tenure sixteen 
virgates held by six free tenants. We are further 
told that the Prior of the Hospital of Jerusalem held 
five virgates of land in perpetual alms and seven 
given by Nicholas de Verdun and Roesia, his wife. 
In addition, twenty-five burgesses held forty-three 
burgages, and one, William de Walcote, one toft, with 
the advowson of the church for the term of the life 
of Eleanor de Verdun. Theobald de V^erdun also 
had six virgates, warren in the fields, a market and 
fairs, and royal and other liberties. The tenants did 
not pay scutage and were quit of suits of the county 
and hundred. 

The virgate of land was an indefinite cjuantity, 
but, as in parts of Leicestershire it can be proved to 
have consisted of 15 acres, we may take this figure 
as the equivalent of a virgate in Lutterworth. 



20 LUTTERWORTH 

Scutage was the pecuniary commutation of military 
tenants for personal service. 

We therefore gather from the Inquisition that 
Theobald de Verdun had in domain — in other words, 
in his own hands — 142 acres. Besides these he had 
600 worked by thirty-six serfs and 240 in the hands 
of six free tenants. The Prior of the Hospital had 
75 acres for his maintenance and 105 for the poor 
wayfarers. But there were besides these twenty-five 
burgesses living upon their own plots of land, who 
had their own town court and were not compelled 
to seek justice in the county court or the hundred 
court. Hence Lutterworth was six hundred years 
ago a borough in the simplest form, with its market 
and its fairs. 

At this date the population was composed of 
twenty-five burgesses, six free tenants, and thirty-six 
serfs, making with their wives and families a probable 
population of 350 persons. 

Theobald de Verdun, the son of Theobald and 
Roesia, held the lordship until 1309, when another 
Theobald succeeded him. He was the last of this 
family in the male line, and died at Alton Towers 
in 1316. 

He was twice married, his first wife being a 
daughter of Lord Mortimer of Wigmore, and by her 
he had three daughters. After her death he married 
as his second wife, in 13 15, Elizabeth, daughter of 
Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, but he died the 
following year before the birth of their child, which 
event took place on the Feast of St. Benedict 
following. This child likewise proved to be a 
daughter. She was named Isabel, and when she 



NORMAN LUTTERWORTH AND EARLY LORDS 21 

grew up she became the wife of Henry, Lord Ferrers 
of Groby, and succeeded to the Manor of Lutterworth, 
although it would appear that her mother retained 
some interest in it durinij her life. 

To Lord Ferrers and the Lady Isabel succeeded 
their son William, who, in turn, was followed by his 
son Henry. It was during the minority of this latter 
that the presentation to the living of Lutterworth fell 
to the Crown and enabled the king to offer it to his 
chaplain. Wycliffe. Henry de Ferrers grew up to 
receive the honour of knighthood, and was succeeded 
by his son Henry, who likewise attained to the same 
distinction. He it was who obtained a grant for the 
holding of a weekly market in Lutterworth, and also 
of an annual Fair upon Ascension Day. This last 
has been discontinued, but the weekly market has been 
regularly held ever since the grant to Sir Henry de 
Ferrers in 1414. This knight was raised to the 
peerage under the title of Lord Ferrers of Groby, 
but, dying without issue in 1444, the Manor of 
Lutterworth passed to his cousin, Elizabeth Ferrers, 
who subsequently married Sir Edward Grey. From 
them the Manor passed to their son, Sir John Grey. 
He fell at the battle of St. Albans in 1460, when it 
descended to his son. Sir Thomas Grey, who in 1472 
was created Earl of Huntingdon and in 1475 
Marquis of Dorset. 

With the son and successor of this first Marquis 
of Dorset an actor in one of our greatest national 
tragedies for a moment flits across our local stage. 
Henry, second Marquis of Dorset, married for his 
second wife Frances, eldest daughter of Charles 
Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, by his wife Mary, Queen- 



22 LUTTERWORTH 

Dowager of France. On the death of the survivor 
of her two brothers the Marquis was, in right of his 
wife, created Duke of Suffolk. Then came the death 
of the boy-king, Edward VI, and the conspiracy to 
place the crown of England upon the head of his own 
daughter. Lady Jane Grey. The consequence of this 
rash act forms part of our national history and needs 
no repetition here. Although the gentle tool of the 
ambition of others expiated her lesser offence on the 
scaffold, her more guilty parent managed to save his 
head for the time being, but only to lay it upon the 
block at a later date for opposing the marriage of 
Queen Mary with Philip of Spain. He was beheaded 
on Tower Hill on the 23rd February 1554, when all 
his possessions were forfeited to the Crown, and it 
was not until the time of Charles I that the Manor 
of Lutterworth again became the property of a private 
subject. 

Having regard to the fact that Lady Jane Grey 
was born and spent her girlhood at Bradgate, a few 
miles beyond Leicester, and that she was connected 
with the Feildings through the de Verduns, it is 
highly probable that she knew and was well known 
in Lutterworth, of which place her father was Lord 
of the Manor. 



LUTTERWORTH FROM THE FOUR- 
TEENTH TO THE SIXTEENTH CEN- 
TURIES 

IT may be well to turn aside for a moment from 
what we may term the " main street " of our 
history to take a glance into its byways during 
the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. 
The great personages who have hitherto occupied 
our stage were not actual residents in Lutterworth, 
but there were nevertheless some of our own towns- 
people whose names have come down to us, and one 
family in particular whose descendants have equalled, 
if they have not surpassed, them in importance ; while, 
to the fearless zeal of one of its inhabitants, Lutter- 
worth owes to this day its place amongst the Meccas 
of Christendom. 

Among those of lesser note may be mentioned 
William Cocks and William Pawley, who, in the reign 
of Henry VII, enriched the charities of the town by 
the gift of lands and tenements at Lutterworth. 
Very early, too, in the history of the town is to be 
found the name of Feilding, which has ever since been 
closely associated with it. Somewhere about the 
reign of Henry III, if nut earlier, we meet with a 
Thomas Feilding. He had a daughter named Joan 

'3 



24 LUTTERWORTH 

or Joanna, who became the second wife of John de 
Colville. By his first wife, Cecilia de Verdun (the 
representative of a junior branch of the family we 
have already traced), he had a daughter named 
Matilda, and this daughter Joanna Feilding adopted 
as her own, conveying to her her own property in 
Lutterworth. 

As we propose to treat of the Feilding family 
separately, it is only necessary here briefly to allude 
to those members who were immediately connected 
with Lutterworth in the centuries under review. 
This brings us to a Geffery de Felden or Feilding, 
who had won his spurs in the wars of Henry IIL 
What his relationship was to the Thomas Feilding 
of Lutterworth already mentioned is uncertain, but 
doubtless it was in the intervals between his service 
with the king that he visited Lutterworth and 
courted and won Matilda de Colville. Through this 
alliance he regained possession of the Feilding 
property, which had passed through Joanna Feilding 
into the Colville family. 

According to tradition the house occupied by 
Geffery and Matilda de Feilding was situate in Ely 
Lane at the spot where for many years the late Mr. 
Blunt carried on the business of a veterinary surgeon 
and which is now in the possession of Mr. E. W. 
Lavender. It is an interesting fact that the remains 
of ancient foundations are frequently met with in the 
ground hereabouts, and an avenue of old yew trees 
still stands beside what was once a bowling-green, 
overlooking the Misterton valley. With regard to 
the name " Ely Lane," it has been suggested that 
this is a corruption of " Hilly Lane," the Midland 



FOURTEENTH-SIXTEENTH CENTURIES 25 

habit of dropping the aspirate leading to the distor- 
tion. Although this suggestion is supported by 
reference to the Parish Registers where the street is 
actually written "Hilly Lane" in several places, yet 
there is little doubt but that the word "Hilly" is 
itself in reality the corruption, and that the street took 
its name in the far-off past from the Feilding 
possessions in the Isle of Ely. 

On the death of Sir Geffrey the Feilding property 
in Lutterworth passed to his son Geoffrey, who 
married Agnes, daughter of John de Napton. It is 
clear that there were other Feildinofs livine in 
Lutterworth at this time, as we find mention of both 
a Thomas and a John Feilding. In the thirty-eighth 
year of Edward III (1365) a conveyance of a 
burgage was made which gives a glimpse into the 
past history of our town worthy of preservation. It 
was executed in the court of the lord of the 
Manor, in the presence of Walter Stephen, William 
Bonifaunts, and Thomas Baker of Lutterworth and 
Thomas Deskins of Poulteney and Roger of Thorpe, 
on Friday, the Feast of St. George. The property 
conveyed was a half-burgage built and lying in High 
Street between the burgage of John Feilding on the 
one side and the messuage of William Milner on the 
other, the persons to whom it was conveyed being 
John I'Y'ilding and Agnes his wife, and John, his son 
by his first wife Matilda. The person who conveyed 
the property was Thomas I'^eilding of Lutterworth, 
with the consent of Elizabeth his wife, and a rent of 
twelve shillings was reserved to him, he on his part 
being bound to render to the lords of the fee the 
services due and accustomed. It is interesting to 



26 LUTTERWORTH 

PEDIGREE 

OF 

SIR GEOFFREY FEILDING 



Geffrey = Matilda de Colville 

I 

Geoffrey = Agnes de Napton 



William = Jane Prudhomme -, , „ j. /(i) Matilda 

'^ Knighted^; T ^(^) ^g"- Stevene 

Henry iii. I 



Elder branch _ 'John ^ Johanna 

Died 2nd April 1418. 

Buried in Lutterworth 

1403 ; buried Church 

in Lutterworth 

Church 



of Feildings By first wife. 

Died nth Oct. 



I 

William = (?) 

I 

Geoffrey = (?) 

( ^. 

John = (?) Thomas 

_ =1 

John Fitz-John = (? 
I 

William = (?) 

Sir Geoffrey = Angel (?) 



Lord Mayor of London 
in 1452 



Buried in St. Lawrence 
Jewry 



I I 

Richard Geoffrey Thomas 

Admitted to the Admitted to the 

Company of Company of 

Mercers in 1472. Mercers in 1487. 



FOURTEENTH-SIXTEENTH CENTURIES 27 

note that not only do the Feildings remain with us to 
this day, but the family of one of the witnesses, 
namely that of Baker, have continued to reside 
amongst us. 

From the John and Agnes Feilding mentioned in 
the above deed was descended the Sir Geoffrey 
Feilding who was Lord Mayor of London in the 
reign of Henry VII. 

Sir Geoffrey was the son of William Feilding of 
Lutterworth and a member of the Mercers' Company. 
He lived in Milk Street, was a Privy Councillor to 
Henry VI and Edward IV, and Lord Mayor in 
1452. Both he and his wife and three of his sons 
were buried in St, Lawrence Jewry, the epitaph on 
their tomb reading, " Here lyeth the body of Jefferey 
Feilding sometime maire of this citie and Angell his 
wife and Thomas, Richard and John, sonnes of 
Jefferey an. dom. 15 17." 

The old church of St. Lawrence Jewry was 
entirely destroyed in the fire of London, and the new 
church contains no monument to Sir Geoffrey other 
than the mention of his name on a brass plate 
inserted by the Mercers' Company in memory of 
members of that Company interred in the church. 

During the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII 
Lutterworth became considerably enriched, its 
property appropriated to civic and public uses being 
extensive. When in 15 10 Leland, the antiquary, 
visited it, the description he gave of the town was as 
follows : " From Leicester to Lutterworth, a market 
town, a ten miles towards Warwickshire. The town 
is scant half so big as Loughborough, but in it there 
is a hospital of the foundation of two of the Vcrduns 



28 LUTTERWORTH 

that were lords of ancient time of the town. . . . 
There riseth certain springs in the hills a mile from 
Lutterworth and so coming to a bottom they make 
a brook that passeth by Lutterworth." 

Between the time of Theobald de Verdun in 1276 
and the middle of the sixteenth century the popula- 
tion of Lutterworth had made some advance. It is 
recorded that in 1564 there were 106 families in the 
town, who, at an average of five a family, would 
muster — men, women, and children — 530 persons, 
an increase of 180 in 286 years. The progress was 
slow, but it must be remembered that in the olden 
times the means of subsistence were limited and the 
chances of employment few in rural towns, both 
causes militating against rapid expansion. 



VI 
ST. MARY'S CHURCH 

THE parish church of Lutterworth un- 
doubtedly owes its origin to the HberaHty 
of the de Verdun family. 

From very early times down to as late as 1838 
Lutterworth belonged to the diocese of Lincoln. 

The date of the buildincr of the oric^inal church is 
unknown, but as three presentations to the living 
of Lutterworth are recorded during the episcopate of 
Hugh de Wells, who occupied the see of Lincoln 
from 1209 to 1235, it was probably somewhere 
towards the close of the twelfth or commencement of 
the thirteenth centuries. 

At any rate there was undoubtedly in the 
thirteenth century a fine Early English church, con- 
sisting of tower, nave, and chancel, the same size 
as the present ones, but with a spire to the tower 
in place of the present top storey and parapets. It 
is also probable that the nave had aisles on both 
sides, but perhaps not so wide as the [iresent south 
aisle nur when first built longer than the nave. 

If this were so, the aisles were very soon 
lengthened and the arches cut through the north 
and south walls of the tower. 

The early nave and chancel had high-pitched 



30 LUTTERWORTH 

roofs, as in all probability had the aisles. There 
was no clerestory to the nave, unless it were an 
extremely low one. 

The east and south walls of the chancel are 
the old thirteenth-century walls, but have been 
increased in height, no doubt, when the larger 
windows were inserted. 

The tower nearly up to the diaper-work is also 
thirteenth-century work, but the belfry windows are 
decidedly of later date than the window in the lower 
stage. Probably the tower was built very slowly 
or in stages, which would account for this difference, 
but the belfry windows are, nevertheless, good speci- 
mens of Early English work. 

Portions of the north aisle and possibly some 
of the south aisle may also be thirteenth-century 
work, as the old masonry of the doorways and 
internal jambs to many of the windows certainly 
belong to that period. 

The nave arcades have been so much renewed 
that it is very doubtful if any of the thirteenth- 
century work still remains. 

The aisles were considerably altered, if not re- 
built, in the fourteenth century, some of the windows 
being very good specimens of "Decorated" work. 
The old wide internal splays of the thirteenth- 
century windows have in many cases been retained, 
although the tracery is fourteenth-century work of 
very different dates. Portions of the present aisle 
roofs are probably fourteenth-century work, or early 
fifteenth century. 

The remains of the steps to the rood loft on 
the south side of the chancel arch are probably 






f* 
r 







3 







8 1 



. 



: 







1 



ST. MARY'S CHURCH 31 

fourteenth-century work, but the chancel arch itself 
is late fifteenth century. 

The east window of the chancel is early 
fifteenth century, but the old jambs are probably 
fourteenth, if not thirteenth century work, perhaps 
still in their original position, but with the inter- 
mediate piers cleared away so as to form one large 
window instead of either two or three single light 
windows. 



VII 
JOHN WYCLIFFE 

IN the year 1374 there happened an event which 
was to bring fame to Lutterworth and carry 
the name of the Httle market-town even be- 
yond our own shores. 

The rector of Lutterworth passed away, and 
the last of the noble family of de Verdun having 
also been gathered to his fathers, the Manor of 
Lutterworth descended to Lord Ferrers of Groby, 
but he being a minor and consequently incapable of 
exercising his right of presentation, the choice of the 
successor fell to the Crown, 

At this time Edward III, who ruled over England, 
had attained a great age and took little interest in 
State affairs, the government of the country being 
practically in the hands of John of Gaunt, Duke of 
Lancaster. Through his interest the royal favour 
fell upon John Wycliffe, who was at the time one of 
the royal chaplains. It is probable that the influence 
of the Duke in favour of Wycliffe was exerted more 
from political and selfish motives than from any 
personal sympathy with the doctrines of the Re- 
formation of which Wycliffe has been styled " the 
Morning Star." He had acquired a reputation for 

unmatched proficiency in the scholastic learning of 

32 




IMIIN \\\( Mill-. 



JOHN WYCLIFFE 33 

his day, and in consequence was welcomed by the 
Duke of Lancaster as an intluence to humble the 
Church. 

W'ycliffe was first brought to the notice of the 
Court, and more particularly of the Duke of Lancas- 
ter, by a pamphlet which he wrote in 1366 in opposi- 
tion to the Pope's claim to feudal supremacy over 
England, founded on King John's act of resignation. 
Several of his works were afterwards dedicated to the 
Duke, who became closely allied with him. 

John Wycliffe was born in the hamlet of Spreswell, 
near Old Richmond, in Yorkshire, in the year 1324. 
He was educated at Merton College, Oxford, of 
which college he became a Fellow, and in 1360 he 
became Master of Balliol. The same year he was 
appointed rector of Fillingham in Lincolnshire, and 
in 1368 he became rector of Ludgershal, Bucks. 
From here he passed, as we have seen, in 1374 to 
Lutterworth. Concurrently with this benefice he 
held the prebendal stall of Aust in the collegiate 
church of W'estbury in the diocese of Worcester. 

In the year in which Wycliffe became rector of 
Lutterworth he went as a member of a Royal Com- 
mission appointed by Edward III to confer with 
Pope Gregory XI, which met at Bruges. In this 
commission he ranked second to the Bishop of 
Bangor and received the princely allowance of twenty 
shillings /^r dion. 

It is a remarkable fact that this glimpse of the 
papal Court is said to have had the same effect 
upon WyclifTe that the visit of Luther to Rome in 
later years had u{)on that reformer ; both visits 
inspired the necessity for an immediate reform in 
3 



34 LUTTERWORTH 

clerical matters. Being a teacher at Oxford, Wycliffe 
had ample opportunity for making public his ideas. 
From 1375 he spent most of his time between 
Lutterworth and Oxford, with frequent visits to 
London, where he became a popular preacher. For 
some years he was allowed to spread his doctrines 
without hindrance, but at length the papal wrath 
fell upon him, and he was cited to appear at St. Paul's 
on the 3rd of February 1377 to answer to the charge 
of being an enemy to Rome on account of his attacks 
on the inordinate arrogance, wealth, and power of 
the higher clergy. He was attended in this trial 
by the Duke of Lancaster, who sent the Earl Marshal, 
Lord Percy, to clear a way through the crowded 
assembly for him. The trial commenced, and the 
assembly waxed hot over the questions before them, 
until the Duke of Lancaster, conformably with the 
manners of the time, threatened to drag Courteney, 
the Bishop of London, out of the church by the 
hair of his head. Then the people, who were 
jealous of Lancaster's overgrown power and who 
resented the insult to their bishop, rose up and 
sacked the houses of both the Duke and Lord 
Percy, killing the latter's chaplain and doing 
immense damage to the former's residence. The 
matter ended in the Pope signing five bulls against 
Wycliffe, authorizing his imprisonment, but before 
they had reached England Edward III had died ; 
and they do not appear to have had any material 
effect. 

In 1380, Wycliffe opposed the doctrine of tran- 
substantiation at Oxford and was condemned by 
the University, and two years later he and his 



JOHN WVCTJFFE 35 

followers were opposed and prosecuted by the 
Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Then he went back to Lutterworth where he 
wrote ceaselessly and fearlessly against the papal 
claims. Assisted by Nicholas de Hereford he made 
the first complete translation of the Vulgate in 1382, 
having himself previously translated the Gospels in 
1360. The whole translation was afterwards revised 
by John Purvey. 

But the great conflicts, dangers, and toil of his 
life had told heavily upon him, and upon the 
accomplishment of his great self-imposed task he 
was seized with paralysis. Recovering to some 
extent, he pursued his labours for two years more, 
and then on the 2Sth December 13S4, while hearing 
mass in his own church at Lutterworth, he was aeain 
attacked. Borne to the adjoining rectory, he lingered 
until New Year's eve, and then passed away at 
the age of sixty years, 

A few days later his mortal remains were laid 
to rest in the chancel of the church which was to 
be for ever after so inseparably wedded to his name, 
but, as we know, even here in death they were not 
to be free from molestation. The Council of Con- 
stance, assembled in the year 14 14 under the 
presidency of the Emperor Sigismund and Pope 
John XXII, resolved to make a determined effort to 
stamp out the doctrines propagated by Wycliffe and 
his disciples, and on the 5th of June of this year 
summoned before them his great German follower, 
John Huss, whom they proceeded forthwith to 
commit to the flames. Following up the lead given 
by the Council of Constance, the Church of Sienna 



36 LUTTERWORTH 

next took upon itself to curse the memory of John 
Wycliffe, and to order his bones, if they could be 
discerned from those of the faithful, to be taken out 
of the ground and cast out of Christian burial. In 
obedience to this decree Richard Fleming, Bishop 
of Lincoln, the diocesan, sent his officers to exhume 
the body. Tradition has it that they came by night, 
and, breaking into the grave in the chancel, carried 
away every bone of the great rector, passing, as they 
went out, through the priests' door in the south wall 
of the chancel still known as "Wycliffe's door." 
Outside they formed a procession, and in this manner 
bore the bones to the side of the river at the south 
entrance to the town, where they burnt them, casting 
the ashes into the stream. As old Fuller puts it, 
" His ashes were cast into the river Swift, which 
conveyed them to the Avon, the Avon into the 
Severn, the Severn into the narrow seas, and they 
into the main ocean. Thus the ashes of Wycliffe 
may be considered [as the emblem of his doctrine, 
which is now dispersed all the world over." 

Of the personal appearance of Wycliffe we have 
no record other than that he was a spare man of 
frail health. None of the existing so-called portraits 
are contemporary, nor do they even conform to the 
style of the age in which he lived. 

Of his character we have several interesting 
glimpses, which help us to get into closer touch 
with our great townsman of over five hundred years 
ago. We know that he was a man of great learning, 
indomitable energy, and unquestionable sanctity, with 
an uncommon gravity of manner and flaming zeal 
for God and love for his neighbour. At one time 



JOHN WYCLIFFE 37 

in his life his health was so impaired by the labours 
of producing his numerous compositions and the 
excitement inseparable from the restless hostilities 
of his enemies that, being supposed to be in a 
dangerous condition, his old antagonists, the Mendi- 
cant Friars, conceived it next to impossible that so 
notorious a heretic should find himself near a future 
world without the most serious apprehensions of 
Divine wrath. 

While they declared that the dogmas of the 
reformer had arisen from the suCTorestions of the 
arch-enemy of mankind, they nevertheless anticipated 
some advantage to their cause if they could induce 
the dying culprit to make recantation of his published 
opinions. Wycliffe was in Oxford when this sickness 
arrested his activity and confined him to his chamber. 
From the four orders of the friars, four doctors were 
gravely deputed to wait on their expiring enemy, 
and to these the same number of civil officers called 
senators of the city and aldermen of the ward were 
added. When this embassy entered the apartment of 
the sick man he was seen stretched on his bed. 
Some kind wishes were expressed as to his better 
health and the blessings of a speedy recovery. Then 
it was suggested that he must be aware of the many 
wrongs which the whole Mendicant brotherhood had 
sustained from his attacks, and as his death was 
apparently now about to remove him, it was sincerely 
hoped that he would not conceal his penitence, but 
distinctly revoke whatever he had preferred against 
them to their injury. Wycliffe lay silent and 
motionless until this address was concluded. He 
then beckoned his servants to raise him in bed, and, 



38 LUTTERWORTH 

fixing his eyes on the persons assembled and 
summoning all his remaining strength, exclaimed, 
" I shall not die, but live, and again declare the evil 
deeds of the friars ! " Thereat the embassy retreated, 
and Wycliffe kept his word. 

The real object of Wycliffe's attack was the exist- 
ing ecclesiastical system. The Roman Church, he 
argued, was no more the head of all the churches 
than any other. St. Peter was not more gifted than 
any .other apostle. The Pope had no higher spiritual 
power than any other ordained minister. The State 
could disendow a delinquent church, and ought to do 
so. The rules of the monastic orders added no more 
intrinsic holiness to the profession of the monks than 
whitewash does solidity to a wall. He held that 
neither Pope nor Bishop should imprison men for 
conscience' sake, and that the excessive wealth of the 
clergy should be reduced. Nor did Wycliffe neglect 
to use his wit against the object of his hate. When 
one of his followers said that Scripture did not 
recognize the friars, "It does," replied Wycliffe, 
" in the text, ' I know you not.' " 

Wycliffe's great work, the translation of the Bible 
into English, is a very liberal translation from the 
Latin. Besides the several works which have been 
printed he left a number of MSS., some of which 
are still in the Bodleian Library and others in the 
British Museum. 

Such was the man to whom Lutterworth owes 
its fame. If we look round us at the present day 
there is but little left to which we can point as con- 
temporary with his rectorship. Every stone of the 
rectory in which he lived and laboured has dis- 



JOHN WYCLIFFE 39 

appeared, and but little even of the church, as he 
knew it, remains. It is true that for years certain 
objects have been exhibited at the church as 
"Wycliffe's," but the antiquary has ruthlessly dis- 
posed of their pretensions. The portraits are all a 
century and a half later, the chair and table are, 
according to the late Mr. Bloxam, of the seventeenth 
century, the pulpit, of the middle of the fifteenth 
century, no doubt inserted when the chancel was 
rebuilt, or when the clerestory was added to the nave 
and the present roof erected. The so-called " vest- 
ment " is probably part of a fifteenth-century altar 
frontal and the candlesticks of the time of Charles I. 

During the last century a little local patriotism 
might have secured for our town a genuine Wycliffe 
relic, but unfortunately it was not forthcoming. On 
the ist July 1861 there was sold at the dispersal of 
Archbishop Tenison's library a fourteenth-century 
MS. containing portions of the Old Testament 
translated by John Wycliffe, possibly in his own 
handwriting. It was bought by Mr. Lilly, a well- 
known London bookseller, for ^150, a price which 
would compare favourably with the prices ruling at 
the present day. 



VIII 
THE LOLLARDS 

IT was while living at Lutterworth that Wycliffe 
organized his body of men called *' Poor 
Preachers." How many townsmen and local 
men were incorporated in these it is impossible to 
ascertain, but we can hardly believe that a man of 
Wycliffe's influence and persuasive powers could 
have failed to enlist some of his own parishioners and 
neighbours. 

The history of Lollardism hardly comes within 
the scope of this book, but it may be mentioned that 
the name Lollard was given to the followers of 
Wycliffe. It was probably derived from the Low 
German verb " lollen " or "lullen," to sing, and 
applied to these people in consequence of their 
attributed fondness for psalm-singing. Wycliffe's 
views were accepted by many of the nobility, and 
Lollardy was most flourishing and most dangerous to 
ecclesiastical organization in England ten years after 
his death. Oxford University and many great per- 
sonages supported the cause. Lord Montacute, 
Lord Salisbury, and Sir Thomas Latimer had Lollard 
chaplains. 

The preachers were picturesque figures in long 

russet dress down to their heels, who, with staff in 

40 



THE LOLLARDS 41 

hand, preached in the mother-tongue to the people in 
churches and graveyards, in streets and market- 
places, and wherever they could obtain a hearing. 
Leicester and Leicestershire became a stronghold 
of the new doctrines until it was stated that there 
was not a man or woman (except the priests and 
nuns) who did not openly profess their disbelief in 
the doctrines of the Church and their approval of 
the views of the Lollards. 

Wycliffe's mantle fell upon the shoulders of a 
remarkable man, William of Swynderby, who had 
been living the life of a recluse in a cell made by 
himself in the woods which approached the western 
gateway of the town of Leicester. From this retreat 
he frequently issued to address the inhabitants of 
the town. On these occasions he spared neither 
the vanity of the women in their fondness for showy 
dress, nor the covetousness of the men, who then, as 
now, were absorbed in the making of money. Nor 
did he spare himself, for he refused the gifts which 
the townspeople continually pressed upon him and 
lived in all austerity the life of a hermit. In con- 
junction with an anchoress known as "ALatilda," who 
had a hut in the graveyard adjoining the Church of 
St. Peter in Leicester, he preached the new doctrines 
openly and boldly. 



IX 
THE JOHN OF GAUNT FRESCO 



A 



LTHOUGH the antiquary has wrought such 
sad havoc amongst the cherished mementoes 
of Lutterworth's golden age, yet he has not 
left us entirely without compensation. 

The restoration of the church under Sir Gilbert 
Scott, some forty years ago, brought to light a fresco 
over the north porch of the highest interest. At first 
it was considered to be of earlier date than the 
rectorship of Wycliffe and to represent Edward H 
and Edward HI, but Mr. E. W. Thursby, in a paper 
read before the Leicestershire Archaeological Society 
in 1880, has given good reasons for believing that 
the fresco represents Richard II, his queen, Anne 
of Bohemia, and the great Duke of Lancaster, and 
that it was inserted in the church by Wycliffe himself. 
Here, then, is a relic of the great rector of Lutter- 
worth more eloquent than any of those we have 
discarded, and as we stand before this fresco and 
endeavour to trace the, alas, fast-fading lines, we can 
feel pretty confident that we are standing where he 
stood and that our eyes are resting upon what his 
rested upon five and a quarter centuries ago. We 
will quote fully from Mr. Thursby's paper. 

It was Mr. Bloxam, the well-known authority, 

4» 




John (iI I. mm KkKS(<i, l.t 1 I KK\\< iK I H ( HI k( 11 



THE JOHN OF GAUNT FRESCO 43 

who first assigned the date of a little prior to 
Wycliffe's rectorship to this fresco, but in conjectural 
matters of this kind an error of a few years is quite 
excusable, and in the light of the advance which has 
been made in these last few years in scientific research 
we are now able to fix the date of the picture at 
some twenty years later than Mr. Bloxam's date. 
Lookine at the fresco itself, we see that it contains 
three figures, two apparently representing kings and 
the third a queen. Naturally we turn to the history 
of our country at the time, and we find on the throne 
a king, whose portrait, preserved at Wilton House, 
the seat of the Earl of Pembroke, is said to resemble 
the beardless king in Lutterworth Church. The wavy 
hair is a general trait of the Plantagenet princes : an 
inspection of the national coinage shows that a 
crowned head with wavy locks was the accepted 
conventional representation of sovereignty in Plan- 
tagenet days. There is, therefore, a strong probability 
that one of the figures represents the reigning 
sovereign, and that the lady, evidently a queen, is 
his consort. If we are right in the date which we 
have assigned to the work, and in our assumption 
that two of the figures represent the reigning king 
and queen, then we have before us portraits — con- 
ventional, il is true — of Richard 1 1 and Anne of 
Bohemia, and we are enabled to add the important 
fact that the rector of Lutterworth at the time was 
John Wycliffe. With this information to hand let 
us look at the probabilities of portraits of Richard II 
and his cjueen being inserted in Lutterworth Church 
during the rectorship of the great Reformer. It is 
known that Anne of Bohemia was a staunch patroness 



44 LUTTERWORTH 

of Wycliffe, and, in conjunction with her mother-in-law, 
Joanna, Princess of Wales, was instrumental in saving 
his life when in danger at the Lambeth Council. 
What, then, is more likely than that Wycliffe should 
desire to commemorate his obligation and gratitude 
in a way which was common in the days in which 
he lived ? 

But there is the third figure to account for. We 
have already seen that in the days of Wycliffe one 
man was all-powerful in the land, namely, John of 
Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. This man, too, was the 
notorious patron and protector of the rector of 
Lutterworth. If, as has been thought, the fresco 
covers some earlier painting, probably of a super- 
stitious nature distasteful to WyclifTe, what is more 
natural than that he should have obliterated it with 
representations of his king and queen and powerful 
protector, just as in later times the royal arms super- 
seded the crucifix ? But the third figure appears also 
to be a king. Can we account for this ? It may be 
that the crown on the head of the bearded figure is 
only a ducal coronet ; in the present state of the 
fresco it is difficult to ascertain for certain. If this 
could be shown to be the case, the identification of 
the figure would amount to practical certainty. 

But even if it proved to be a royal crown the 
presumption would not be seriously affected, for 
John of Gaunt married as his second wife, in 1368, 
Constance, daughter of Pedro the Cruel, and immedi- 
ately claimed the title of King of Castile in her right. 
Nor did he renounce the claim until 1389, some years 
after WyclifTe's death, so that during the whole of 
the latter's incumbency of Lutterworth the Duke 



THE JOHN OF GAUNT FRESCO 45 

would have been reo-arded as titular Kino- of Castile, 
and his claim would have been a special subject of 
interest when Wycliffe first placed himself under his 
protection. This would account for the two crowned 
heads appearing side by side. The hawk on the 
wrist of the bearded figure is a symbol of dignity, and 
adds peculiar significance to our conjecture from the 
fact that John of Gaunt was passionately addicted to 
the chase and entertained Richard II and his queen 
at a magnificent hunting party in Leicester Forest, 
which then covered the district between Enderby and 
Earl Shilton, including Desford or Deersford. May 
not the Duke with his royal guests have visited their 
notorious prot^g^ in his home at Lutterworth on this 
occasion, and the fresco which we have been con- 
sidering commemorate the visit? The sceptre in 
the hand of the beardless figure may well mark the 
difference between the King in esse and the claimant 
to a foreign crown. 



X 

THE HOLY WELL OF ST. JOHN 

THAT the name of Wycliffe was regarded 
with something more than veneration by the 
people of Lutterworth during the Middle 
Ages is proved by the story of the Holy Well of 
St. John. 

The legend is that, as the bones of the holy man 
were being carried on a bier from the church to the 
riverside for burning, in accordance with the ecclesi- 
astical decree, in passing down the steep slope at what 
is now the bottom of High Street a bone fell to the 
ground and was immediately trampled into the soft soil 
of the unmade roadway by the crowds which followed. 

Some years afterwards a man working upon the 
spot brought to light the missing bone, and, upon 
taking it from its position, forthwith there issued from 
the hole where it had lain embedded a fountain of 
the purest water, which ceased not to flow day or 
night to the joy of the inhabitants of the town, who 
regarded it as a display of Divine favour upon the 
remains of their local saint. 

The water was immediately looked upon as 
miraculous and was conveyed to a stone drinking- 
fount placed by the side of the way at the spot 
where the discovery was made. 



THE HOLY WELL OF ST. JOHN 47 

It has been thought bv some to have been called 
the Holy Well of St. John from its position within 
sight of the Hospital of that name, to which we have 
already alluded, but it seems to us, in the face of the 
above tradition, that the dedication to St. John was 
far more likely to have had reference to the Christian 
name of Lutterworth's grreat rector. 

For ages the power to cure all manner of diseases, 
especially where the eyesight was affected, was 
attributed to this water, and the actual stone basin 
which received it is believed still to exist behind the 
brick wall which was built in front of it some sixty 
years ago. The spring itself was tapped a few years 
ago in excavating for a sewer, and was so strong that 
it had to be conveyed into the common drain. 



XI 
THE REBUILDING OF THE CHURCH 

NOT many years after the dramatic scene 
enacted over Wycliffe's earthly remains, a 
great transformation was brought about in 
the construction of our church, involving its almost 
entire rebuilding. 

This was the outcome of a great social movement 
which at that time was in progress throughout the 
whole country and happily extended to our own 
church. The crusaders, returning from the Holy 
Land enamoured of the frescoes and stained glass 
which adorned the continental and Eastern churches, 
aroused a desire for more light, and in many places 
the large " Decorated " windows, which gave scope for 
artistic treatment and stained glass, were as a result 
substituted for the Early English lancet windows. In 
our own Parish Church the restoration of forty years 
aofo under Sir Gilbert Scott left us two of these lancet 
windows built during the reign of King John. One 
of these is in the south wall of the chancel, east of the 
priests' or "Wycliffe's" door. The other is in the 
west wall of the tower, exactly facing the central aisle 
of the nave. 

As the church when first erected probably had 
no clerestory and had high-pitched roofs both to the 



THE REBUILDING OF THE CHURCH 49 

nave and chancel, and also probably to the aisles, 
it was necessary, in order to conform to the new idea, 
to practically rebuild some of the walls of the church, 
and this appears to have been done. The lancet 
lights in the east wall were displaced by the present 
window, which is a hne example of the Early Per- 
pendicular style. Also new and more ornamental 
windows were inserted in the side walls. The hiofh- 
pitched roof of the earlier nave and chancel were 
removed, the arches of the nave probably rebuilt, 
the clerestory windows inserted, and the present low- 
pitched and highly decorated roof constructed. It 
would appear as if the ancient rood screen and loft 
were destroyed when the present chancel arch was 
built. 

The walls of the chancel were also raised and the 
roof brought into conformity with the nave. Some 
of the main timbers are of the fourteenth century, and 
are valuable examples of what (for woodwork) is a 
scarce period. 

The aisle windows are nearly all late t^irteenth- 
or early fourteenth-century work. 

The tower in its original state had a massive spire, 
in keeping with its early date. This was at a later 
period rebuilt in a taller and lighter form, and rose 
to a height of 47 feet higher than the present 
tower. This was the spire which was destroyed in 
the great storm of 1 703. 

In the time of the early luiwards, churchmen 
were nothing if they were not builders — it was the 
golden age of church architecture. When the 
building was completed the proud builder was 
accustomed to [)lace his seal upon it, and so we find 
4 



50 LUTTERWORTH 

the arms of the Lord Ferrers of Groby built in the 
gable of the east window. This gives a clue to the 
date at which this first restoration of our church took 
place. 

The Manor of Lutterworth, together with the 
patronage of the living, came into the possession of 
the Ferrers family in the year 13 16 upon the death 
of Theobald de Verdun, and the last lord of this 
family passed away in May 1444. They thus held 
the Manor close upon a hundred and fifty years, and it 
was no doubt during the latter part of this period that 
the rebuilding took place, the alteration in the chancel 
probably dating from the rectorship of Wycliffe. 

It is almost certain that, in conformity with the 
custom of the age, the principal windows of the 
church were filled with stained glass, nearly every 
vestige of which has long since disappeared. To 
find an example of what this ancient glass was like 
we have only to visit the neighbouring church of 
Stanford-on-Avon, five miles distant, where there are 
carefully preserved specimens dating from 1327 to 
examples of fifteenth- or sixteenth-century work. 

Of the interior fittings of our church at this date 
all have been lost with the exception of fragments 
of a screen, the main portion of which was many years 
ago removed to Stanford-on-Avon, where it is still to 
be seen. What small part is left to us now does 
duty as an organ screen. The pulpit dates from the 
middle of the fifteenth century and has been much 
restored. Pulpits, as Mr. Pick points out, were used 
in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries. 
There are many examples of such on the Continent. 
There are a few fourteenth-century examples in 



THE REBUILDING OF THE CHURCH 51 

England, notably a stone one at Beaulieu in Hamp- 
shire. Pulpits were placed in the refectories of 
monasteries as well as in churches, and, indeed, 
sometimes on the outside walls of churches ; but it 
was not until the fifteenth century that they came 
into general use in our churches. In many cases the 
original pulpits were among the furnishings which 
were destroyed by the Puritanical idealism which 
swept all our ecclesiastical buildings bare just after 
the Reformation. 

The Lutterworth pulpit has acquired an unde- 
served world-renown under the mistaken notion that 
it was the identical pulpit from which the great 
Reformer promulgated his doctrines. Nichols says : 
" It is a sexagon made of thick oak planks with a 
seam of carved work in the joints, and is preserved 
and continued in memory of Wycliffe, whose pulpit 
it was, if constant tradition may be credited." 

At one time the pulpit was surmounted by a large 
sounding-board. This suffered in the great disaster 
of the fall of the spire. Nichols says : " The sounding- 
board was beat to pieces, but many of the fragments 
were selected as could be removed from the rubbish, 
and are now fixed against the wall of the vestry " 
(date 1790). 

As doubts were cast upon the authenticity of this 
relic it was sold about the year 1836, and is said to 
have been purchased by a member of the Fry family 
(of chocolate fame) and converted into a dining-table. 
The fragments of the screen already alluded to 
were discovered in the gallery during the restoration 
of 1867, and, coming into the hands of the late Mr. 
George Binns, at that time headmaster of Sherrier s 



52 LUTTERWORTH 

School, were by him carefully restored and re-pre- 
sented to the church. It is thought that this screen 
once surrounded the Lady Chapel which occupied 
the east end of the south aisle. A piscina dating 
from the fourteenth century may still be seen in the 
south wall. 

In the chancel, close by the altar on the north 
side, is an aumbry, a square cupboard for keeping 
the sacramental vessels, and on the south side, exactly 
opposite, is an Early English piscina. These recesses 
were certainly used by the early rectors, and were 
probably there in the time of Wycliffe. 

In the north arch of the chancel, close by where 
the pulpit now stands, is an opening called a Squint 
or Hagioscope. These were connexions between 
the High Altar and a less important one to enable 
the priest officiating at the side altar to witness the 
elevation of the Host. 

In 1534-35 there was a chantry within this church, 
the state of which is thus reported : — 

" The said Guild was founded by Edmund 
Muryall to find one priest called a Guild Priest to 
celebrate Divine Service within the Parish Church of 
Lutterworth and to pray for the soul of the said 
founder. And the said room is now void, and no 
priest there resides nor is there plate, jewels or any 
other article belonging" (Nichols). 

On the dissolution of the lesser chantries in 1534 
this, in all probability, fell into the public hands and 
was applied to secular purposes for the public benefit- 
Shortly before the Reformation the property 
brought in, in the money of the period, 45s. 3d. 
yearly. 




WKsT Akrii I r 11 1- k\V(tk I H ( iiiKc M 



XII 

THE FRESCO OVER THE CHANCEL 

ARCH 

THE upper part of the chancel arch is 
covered by a unique picture of the Day of 
Judgment. 
As in the case of the fresco on the north wall, 
of which we have already written, this one was 
discovered under the plaster at the time of the 
restoration of the church in 1869 and attracted 
considerable attention. An account of the dis- 
covery was laid before the Society of Antiquaries 
in London. 

In the fresco. Our Saviour is represented sitting 
in the centre of a rainbow which terminates on 
either side in an orb, supposed to represent the sun 
and moon. His feet rest upon clouds of glory, 
and on his right side and on his left are archangels 
sounding the last trump. Below is depicted a grave- 
yard with the dead rising from their graves. Some 
are clothed as in life ; others are destitute of clothing 
and some even of flesh. All classes of people are 
represented, from royalty with its crown to the 
humblest subject. From some of the graves fire is 
seen issuing, portraying the torment of hell. Strewn 
around the ground are skulls and bones. Some of 

S3 



54 LUTTERWORTH 

the beings rising from the graves are shown in a 
position as if suppHcating mercy. 

This picture is of great value on account of its 
undoubted antiquity. It was part of the decoration 
of the church placed there most likely after the re- 
building of the chancel arch in the fifteenth century. 
In all probability the church was at this period 
covered with frescoes, such being employed as a 
means of instruction for people entirely devoid of 
the art of reading. 

Much akin to these frescoes were the Miracle 
Plays performed in the Middle Ages, and of which 
tradition says Lutterworth Church was frequently 
the scene. These plays were generally of a most 
impressive character — The Passion of Christ, Flight 
into Egypt, Adoration of the Magi, etc. — although it 
is said that at times they became almost blasphemous 
caricatures of scenes and incidents relating to Holy 
Writ. The prohibition by Bonner, Bishop of London, 
forbidding these plays was no doubt highly coloured, 
because it was given just at the most exciting 
moment of the Reformation of the Church. 

Miracle Plays and others of dramatic character 
were continued in churches after the Reformation, 
until stringent measures were adopted by Queen 
Elizabeth against all exhibitions calculated to retard 
the progress of the Reformation. In spite of this 
Miracle Plays were performed in churches even as 
late as the seventeenth century. 




INTKM'Pi^ <i| I r 11 KKWOK I H (1ILK(H. sU()\\IN<. IKl.ui) lAI.U 

CHANC Kl, Akt H 



XIII 

WYCLIFFE RELICS PRESERVED IN THE 

CHURCH 

OF the Wycliffe relics preserved in the church, 
as has been already intimated, none are 
authentic. In a glass case in the vestry is 
the so-called Wycliffe's vestment. In bygone years 
it was an object of great veneration, and portions 
were frequently stolen, as it was supposed to 
have a miraculous power. It was to prevent this 
pillage that the relic was placed under glass and 
locked up. 

The chair shown as the chair in which Wycliffe 
was carried from the church when smitten with 
paralysis, and the authenticity of which is vouched 
for by a brass plate, is unfortunately of unquestionably 
seventeenth-century work, as are also the wooden 
candlesticks long known as Wycliffe's. And no 
better fate awaits the most cherished of all Lutter- 
worth's possessions — the actual table on which the 
great Reformer translated the Bible into English, 
and for which our American cousins are reported to 
have offered no less than ;i^40,ooo ! It is a most 
interesting and valuable object nevertheless, but is 
in no way associated with Wycliffe. In his time 
altars were constructed of stone, and it was not until 



55 



56 LUTTERWORTH 

considerably later that they were displaced by 
communion tables of wood. During the reign of 
Queen Mary, for a short period altars of stone were 
again introduced; but in 1566 Elizabeth ordered 
communion tables to be set up in all the churches, 
and churchwardens were compelled to sign a declara- 
tion on oath that the stone ones had been destroyed. 

The table in Lutterworth Church is undoubtedly 
a fine example of an Elizabethan communion table, 
and was introduced at a time when the Sacrament 
was administered to communicants sitting round the 
table as in the Last Supper of Our Lord, and for this 
reason is provided with sliding extensions. 




v. 



y. 



XIV 

LUTTERWORTH IN THE TIME OF 
THE CIVIL WAR 

LUTTERWORTH found itself in the vortex 
of the storm of civil strife which swept the 
land in the seventeenth century and culmin- 
ated in the defeat of the Royalist party at Naseby, a 
few miles across the Northamptonshire border. 

In the Chiirchward67is Accounts, under date May 
1643, is the entry : "Paid to Prince Rupert's Trum- 
peters, ;^2," and again, " Paid to Wm. Pettifor for 
writing out the Covenant, 6d." Probably these 
incidents arose out of the siege of Leicester, for our 
district at that time swarmed with Royalist troops on 
their way south after the struggle for the mastery of 
that town. 

On the 13th of June 1645 the King's army, after 
resting for several days at Rugby, marched to Market 
Harborough, passing through Swinford and the lovely 
avenue by Stanford Park which we now call the Beech 
Avenue. The King and his suite rested at the hall 
for the midday meal, and the bridge in this park over 
which he passed and repassed on this occasion is to 
this day known as " King Charles' Bridge." 

Arrived at Market Harborough at night, tired out 
with the long march over hilly ground, the army was 



i? 



58 LUTTERWORTH 

ordered to proceed immediately to Northampton, 
where it was known Cromwell's army was stationed. 

The two armies met at the village of Naseby on 
the following day, namely, the 14th June, and here 
was fought the battle which decided the fate of the 
Royalist cause. By sunset the King's army was 
utterly routed, and once more our little town was filled 
with refugees. 

Tradition says that King Charles in his flight 
passed through Lutterworth and stayed to have his 
horse's shoes fastened there, but there is apparently 
no documentary corroboration of this story. After 
the battle he fled by Leicester to Ashby-de-la-Zouch, 
and it is exceedingly probable that he took the route 
through Lutterworth. 

The rector of Lutterworth at this time was the 
Rev, Nathaniel Tovey, B.D., a staunch Royalist, 
who doubtlessly ministered to the utmost of his 
powers to the wounded soldiers passing through his 
parish. There are also several inns still remaining 
which may well have harboured fugitives from Naseby. 

Mr. Tovey suffered for his loyalty, being ejected 
from his living. He has a claim to remembrance as 
having at one time of his life been tutor to Milton. 
Son of a chaplain to Lord Harrington of Exton, and 
who afterwards became master of the Free School 
at Coventry, Nathaniel Tovey was at an early 
period of his life taken under the patronage of Lucy, 
Countess of Bedford, the only daughter of his father's 
patron. Lord Harrington. Under her auspices he 
was entered at Christ's College, Cambridge, and it was 
while here that he had the honour of becoming tutor 
to the immortal bard. Having taken the degree of 



LUTTERWORTH IN TIME OF CIVIL WAR 59 

B.D., he was presented by King- Charles I to the 
living of Lutterworth, but was dispossessed, as we 
have seen, in or before the year 1647 for his adherence 
to the royal cause. 

From this period there is a hiatus in Mr. Tovey's 
career; but in June 1654 we find him, through the 
friendship of John Manners, Earl of Pentland, 
inducted to the living of Aylestone, near Leicester, 
where he died, apparently simultaneously with his 
wife, in 1658, an entry in the parish register at Ayle- 
stone reading : " 1658, Mr. Nathaniel Tovey, minister 
of this parish and Elizabeth his wife were buryed the 
9th day of Sept. 1658." 

An entry in the Clmrchwardens Accou?its, dated 
the loth April 1650, throws a lurid light upon ways 
prevailing in days which we have now grown accus- 
tomed (so softened by the haze of distance have they 
become) to regard with reverence and delight : — 

" Given " (it reads) " 4 shillings.' 

" Agnes Griffen was nailed to a tree by hand and 
foot, having wounds on her head and her 
body cut, being forced to eat her own flesh 
and drink her own blood by the rebels." 
"This letter of request was signed by Justices of 
the Peace. 4 shillings." 

Surely no exaggerated compensation, even taking 
into account the purchasing power of four shillings 
in the seventeenth century ! There is no further 
record of this outrage, but probably the unfortunate 
woman was one of the many victims of the victors 
of Naseby, and shows the length to which religious 
fanaticism can go in thehandsofan irresponsible rabble. 



6o LUTTERWORTH 

Lutterworth supplied at least one soldier to the 
Royalist cause in the person of Col. William Cole. 
In the Charity Commissioners Report for i8jy is 
recorded the fact that by an Indenture of Lease and 
Release, dated 19th and 20th January 1693, Margaret 
Bent conveyed to William Cole of the Spittal, near 
Lutterworth, Thomas Morris, and ten others certain 
properties in trust for charities at Lutterworth. The 
" Spittal " named as the residence of the first- 
mentioned transferee clearly leads us to the site of 
the old Hospital of St. John, whose history we have 
already followed to its extinction. Apparently a 
later residence was erected, probably out of the old 
materials, upon the site of the Hospital, and it was this 
house, preserving in its name the memory of its fore- 
runner, which was the home of Lutterworth's re- 
doubtable warrior. William Cole was a son of 
Richard Cole of Hertfordshire. He married Barbara, 
daughter of George Halford, second son of Sir 
Henry Halford of Wistow, and acquired, apparently 
in her right, the lordship of Laughton in Leicester- 
shire and the Spittal Estate at Lutterworth with its 
two water-mills. Col. Cole served under Charles I 
and his successors for fifty-seven years, and was one 
of the ofentlemen whom Kincj Charles II intended to 
honour as Knight of the Royal Oak, his estate being 
worth ;^6oo a year. 

He died in 1698 and was buried at Laughton, as 
appears from the following entry in the register of 
Lutterworth Church : " Wm. Cole Esq. was buried at 
Laughton ist April 1698." 

His only daughter married the Rev. Bailey 
Shuttleworth, rector of Laughton, carrying the 




roi.K ARMS, i,.\r(;ni(iN ( m K( ii 



LUTTERWORTH IN TIME OF CIVIL WAR 6i 

Spittal property into the family whose representa- 
tive, Robert Shuttlevvorth, Esq., was owner in 1758, 
when the celebrated mill trial, to be referred to later 
on, took place. 

The family of Cole have remained in Lutterworth 
until the present time. They were active supporters 
of the Concjrecrational Church established here in 
1684, and the names of members of this family are 
found throughout the church records. 

In a directory called the Universal Directory, 
published in London and dated 1793-94, we find 
under Lutterworth the name — 

"Richard Cole, Woollen Manufacturer." 

This Richard Cole was one of the founders of the 
old Gooseberry Show Society, whose records exist 
from the year 181 8 and are in the earlier years in 
his handwriting. 

A sword, which was formerly the property of Col. 
William Cole, is still in the possession of Mrs. King 
of Lutterworth, she being the last of the family, which 
with her is believed to become extinct. 

In closing this section on the history of our town 
during the Civil War, we may here mention an 
interesting piece of furniture which was removed from 
our church at the time of the restoration under Sir 
Gilbert Scott, and has now found its way to Ulles- 
thorpe Court. It is in the form of a small square 
box on spiral legs, and is evidently of the Cromwellian 
period, ll would appear at one time to have been 
divided into one large and two small c()m[)artments, 
and in all probability was constructed to hold church 
plate — possibly a pewter service. The use of pewter 



62 LUTTERWORTH 

for altar vessels was by no means unknown ; in fact, 
it became common when the vessels of the purer 
metal had been commandeered during the Civil War. 
We have no record that this was actually the case 
at Lutterworth, but its possibility is rendered not 
unlikely by the knowledge that Lutterworth was 
plundered by Hastings' troops from Ashby-de-la-Zouch 
on the nth January 1644. It was also visited by 
the same troops at a later date, for in Memorials of 
Old Leicestershire we read (p. 211): "The English 
Roundheads, urged by the Parliament and the Puritan 
ministers, were flocking to the appointed centres to 
take the Covenant, the date fixed for Leicestershire 
being Sunday, 3rd March, and the place Leicester. 
Hastings, having notice thereof with four troops from 
Beaver Whorton House and another garrison, coursed 
about the country, laying hands on all the clergy, 
churchwardens, and other church officers whom he 
could catch and haling them to Ashby. Whitelock 
says that a hundred of them in all were captured, 
but the figures are not to be relied upon. Sweeping 
round Leicester through Lutterworth and Sutton, 
Hastings came to Hinckley on 3rd March with his 
prisoners and a large quantity of cattle and other 
plunder. The Leicester men, hearing of his where- 
abouts, mustered what horse and foot they could, and 
sallied forth under Lieut. -Col. Henry Grey, fell upon 
him in Hinckley market-place, drove him out into 
the fields, and beat him, capturing 50 prisoners, 
140 horse, 80 head of cattle, with divers packs of 
ammunition, and recovering all the prisoners, who had 
been locked in Hinckley Church." 



XV 

THE FEILDINGS— LORDS OF THE 
MANOR OF LUTTERWORTH 

W^E left the Manor of Lutterworth in the 
hands of the Crown upon the attainder of 
the Duke of Suffoll^ in 1554, and it con- 
tinued in the same hands until the reign of Charles I, 
when it was granted to the Mayor and Commonalty 
of the City of London, on the 4th June 1625, under 
the Great Seal of England, and also under the Seal 
of the Duchy of Lancaster. The new lords of the 
Manor, however, did not long continue to enjoy it, 
for we find that on Saturday, the 13th of June 1629, 
they conveyed the Manor of Lutterworth, with the 
royalties, toll of market, and all the rents belonging 
to the Manor, with certain specified exceptions, being 
then of the yearly rent of /^S^, 14s. id., to Basil 
Feilding, Esq., and George Vernam (or Farnham), 
gentleman, of the City of London, for the sum of 
jC 1^50. From this time the Manor has remained in 
the hands of the Feilding family, the present Earl 
of Denbigh being now its lord. 

Although it was not until 1629 that the Fcildings 
became possessed of the actual Manor, yet, as we 
have seen, they had been connected with the place 

for centuries before, and the history of this ancient 

63 



64 LUTTERWORTH 

house forms one of the most interesting chapters in 
the history of Lutterworth. 

The Feildings have always claimed to be the 
only descendants in the direct male line of the House 
of Hapsburg — the elder but female branch now reigns 
in Austria. Modern researchers into antiquity, how- 
ever, dispute this point, which has been the subject 
of much controversy. 

It is a fact that as early as the middle of the 
eleventh century there was a family of the name of 
Feilding settled in the Isle of Ely. This has been 
proved by the existence of a grant to Bernard Feilding 
by William Rufus of the Manor of Donnington in the 
Isle of Ely — a grant afterwards confirmed to his son, 
Soland Feilding. 

Then later, about the reign of Henry III, we 
find a Thomas Feilding resident in Lutterworth — 
probably a member of a younger branch of the Ely 
Feildings. 

Sir Geoffrey Feilding, claimed by the family to 
be of Hapsburg descent, married Matilda de Colville. 
Her father, John de Colville, as we have already 
seen, took as his second wife Joan Feilding, the 
daughter of Thomas Feilding of Lutterworth men- 
tioned above. Joan adopted her step-daughter 
Matilda as her heiress, conveying to her her property 
in Lutterworth. In this way the Feilding possessions, 
which had for a while passed into the de Colville 
family, were restored once more to the Feildings in 
the persons of Sir Geoffrey and Matilda. This was 
a turning-point in the fortunes of the Feildings of 
Lutterworth. 

Sir Geoffrey Feilding served in Henry Ill's army. 



THE FEILDINGS— LORDS OF THE MANOR 65 

and was renowned for his great valour and his brave 
deeds. As a reward for his services the Kino- settled 
on him certain lands in Northamptonshire and 
Leicestershire to be handed on to his son and heirs 
for ever. His wife inherited also from her mother, 
Cecilia de Verdun, a certain portion of land round 
Lutterworth, as well as the mansion house in which 
they dwelt. 

Their descendants continued to live there for 
many years, until towards the end of the fourteenth 
century they came by marriage into possession of 
Newnham Paddox in Warwickshire, where they dwell 
to this day. 

Geoffrey, the son of Sir Geoffrey and Matilda, 
married Agnes de Napton, Through this marriage 
another large property round Lutterworth and 
Misterton came into the possession of the Feildings, 
and has belonged to them ever since. 

It is from Geoffrey's second son, John, that was 
descended the Sir Geoffrey Feilding who became 
Lord Mayor of London in 1452. 

William Feilding, eldest son and heir of Geoffrey 
and Agnes, was given the mansion house by his 
father. This old house is said by Nichols to have 
been in Ely Lane, now Station Road, in Lutter- 
worth. It was afterwards sold by William's son, 
John Feilding, to Sir Rauf de Stanlow on 5th July 
1 3 19, and so it passed completely out of the 
possession of the Feildings. 

William fallowed his grandfather's example and 

served in the English army, fighting under I^dward 

III in the French War of 1339. He added 

Newnham Paddox to the family's growing posses- 

5 



66 LUTTERWORTH 

sions by his marriage with Jane Prudhomme, the 
granddaughter of Robert de Newnham. 

The succeeding generations of the Feildings 
were, we find, nearly all conspicuous for the part 
they took in the various wars. Five of them were 
knighted for services rendered to their country. 

In the fifteenth century William Feilding, son of 
John and Margaret Purefoy, and grandson to 
William and Jane Prudhomme, was appointed 
by Henry VI sheriff of the counties of Cambridge 
and Huntingdon. He fought for the Lancastrians in 
the Civil War of the Roses and was slain at the 
battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. 

Everard, his son, fought at the battles of Stoke 
in 1487 and Blackheath in 1497, as a commander, 
and was rewarded by knighthood. He held several 
important posts in Leicestershire and Warwickshire, 
besides being a member of the Privy Council under 
Henry VIII. When he died in 1515 he possessed 
land in Rutland, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, 
Leicestershire, and the Isle of Ely. Tradition has it 
that he was buried in the Church of Our Lady at the 
Blackfriars, Northampton, but no trace of his tomb 
can now be found. 

Everard's son and heir, William, knighted for 
raising forces amongst his tenantry for the Scotch 
War, was held in great esteem at Court, especially by 
Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VIII, who, 
on the birth of Prince Edward, sent him a special 
message informing him of this event, and demanding 
his prayers and congratulations. He died in 1549, 
and he and his wife Elizabeth were the first to be 
buried in the church at Monks Kirby. His son 



THE FEILDINGS— LORDS OF THE MANOR 6^ 

Basil, with Goodith Willington, his wife, is also 
buried there. 

By this time the lands owned by the Feildings 
were of a fair proportion, each generation having, as 
we have seen, added its own share. Basil at his 
death possessed in and about Lutterworth " the 
mansion house, 24 cottages, 3 shops, 300 acres of 
arable land, 100 of pasture, and 40 of meadow," 
besides property in Rutland, Warwickshire, and 
Leicestershire. 

Of the two following generations practically 
nothincT is known save their names and the names 

O 

of their wives. We find mention of a Sir William 
Feilding, sheriff of Warwickshire and Rutlandshire, 
who married Dorothy Lane. His son Basil was born 
in 1556 and died in 1 605 ; he was also sheriff of War- 
wickshire. He took as his wife Elizabeth Aston. 

Finally we come to W'illiam, the first Earl of 
Denbigh. He married Susan Villiers, sister of the 
Duke of Buckincrham, and throuorh his brother-in-law 
was introduced to the Court of James I, where he 
rapidly rose in rank until in 1623 he was created 
Earl of Denbigh. In the same year he is said to 
have accompanied the Prince of Wales and the Duke 
of Buckingham on the secret journey they made to 
Spain in the hopes of bringing about the marriage 
between the Prince and the Infanta Maria Ana, the 
daughter of Philip III of Spain. Her picture, which 
they brought to England to show to King James, 
was, on James' refusal of it, given by Buckingham 
to his sister Susan, Lady Denbigh, at Newnham, 
where it has remained ever since. 

George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, was the 



68 LUTTERWORTH 

son of Sir George Villiers of Brokesby and Mary 
Beaumont. His mother, having great ambitions and 
high hopes, coupled with an exceedingly strong will, 
generally succeeded in getting what she wished. 
Left in sole charge of the boy after his father's death, 
she sent him to school at Billesdon. At the age of 
eighteen he went to France that he might learn to 
bear himself with the ease and grace of the French 
courtiers. Thus equipped, he entered the English 
Court at twenty-one, where his mother had purchased 
for him the appointment of cupbearer to the King, 
hoping that by his good looks he would soon attract 
James' attention. In this he was wholly successful, 
for the King refused thenceforth to allow the young 
man out of his sight. He proceeded to heap honours 
upon him, creating him first Viscount Villiers in 1616, 
then Earl, Marquis, and finally Duke of Buckingham 
in 1623. James kept his favourite well supplied with 
money, and Buckingham, who loved magnificence, 
took care to please his master by appearing before 
him in the most splendid costumes. 

In 1620 he married the greatest heiress of the 
kingdom — Catherine, daughter of the Earl of 
Rutland. 

Through Villiers dignities were showered on his 
family ; his mother was made Countess of Bucking- 
ham in her own right, a privilege rarely granted in 
those days. One of his brothers was created Earl of 
Anglesey and the other Viscount Purbeck. The 
influence he possessed over the King was unbounded, 
and that friendship with the heir-apparent was 
already begun which in later years brought about 
Villiers' fatal and tragic end. 




Wll.ll \M I IKsl I.AKI. Ol |)|.M;|i,H 



THE FEILDINGS— LORDS OF THE MANOR 69 

On this prince's accession he made George 
VilHers one of his ministers, and showered upon him 
even more favours than had his father, King James. 
The rapidity of these advancements naturally raised 
much jealousy among the noblemen at Court. But 
Villiers did not appear conscious of his unpopularity, 
or, if he were so, he disregarded it entirely and 
refused to take any measures to ensure his personal 
safety. 

In the year 1625 the last link between the King 
and Parliament was strained almost to breakincj- 
point, and Charles thought to appease his subjects 
by sending over an army to help the besieged 
Huguenots at La Rochelle. The French King, 
Louis XIII, was at that time eno^aored in a war with 
the Huguenots and had sent a petition to the English 
King for help. Charles replied by sending over 
some ships to La Rochelle, but the men refusing to 
fight against their co-religionists, instead of for them 
as they had been given to understand. Admiral 
Pennington, their commander, was obliged to sail 
home again. A second attempt being made, with 
William, Earl of Denbigh, in command, was as 
miserable a failure as the first. 

The Duke of Buckingham, holding the office of 
Lord High Admiral of England, was consequently 
held responsible for these unnecessary blunders. In 
order to try and retrieve his reputation he decided 
to personally conduct a third fleet against La 
Rochelle. But the ill-feeling of the nation against 
this u.selcss loss of precious life, labour, and money 
was intense, and on leaving his house at Portsmouth 
in August 1628 to embark, Buckingham was stabbed 



JO LUTTERWORTH 

by John Felton. When Felton, one of his former 
officers, was afterwards questioned regarding his 
motive, he replied that no one had instigated him to 
the deed ; he beheved that he could not sacrifice his 
life in a better cause than by ridding his country of 
one of her greatest and most powerful enemies. 

The Duke of Buckingham is buried in Henry 
VII's Chapel at Westminster Abbey. Lord 
Clarendon describes him as a man of noble nature 
and generous disposition. He says : '* His kindness 
and affection to his friends was vehement, and he was 
an enemy in the same excess. His flight, rather 
than his ascent to fortune, was a snare few could 
have resisted. He was a munificent patron of 
learning and of the fine arts in spite of his deficient 
education, and he formed a magnificent collection 
of pictures." 

In the years that followed the Duke of Bucking- 
ham's death the old struggle between the King and 
Parliament grew fiercer. Charles was continually 
making promises in order to get money, and then 
he would break them immediately the supplies were 
granted him. Thus matters went from bad to worse, 
until at last in 1642 it was evident to all that the 
struggle could not be continued without war. Both 
parties collected troops, and then began that terrible 
Civil War which raged throughout England for so 
many years. Families were divided amongst them- 
selves, and there are few sadder illustrations of the 
intense misery thus caused than that shown in the 
letters of Susan Villiers to her son Basil, who fought 
as a Roundhead against his Royalist father. 

"It is to these letters," says Knowles, in his 



THE FEILDINGS— LORDS OF THE MANOR 71 

introduction to the Denbigh Manuscripts, "that the 
deepest interest attaches, the letters of the first 
Countess of Denbigh — 'Su Denbigh,' as she signs 
herself in a bold handwriting indicative of the strong 
and earnest character which her correspondence shows 
her to have possessed. They are addressed to her 
son Basil, on the outbreak of the Civil War, and in 
the impassioned and affecting eloquence with which 
she appeals to him not to take arms against the King, 
there is reflected the throes of Sfrief which she shared 
in common with thousands of English mothers to 
whom the Civil War brouorht the distraction of 

O 

divided households." 

Basil Feildinof was Su Denbifrh's eldest son. 
His father was a staunch Royalist, adhering steadfastly 
to King Charles and serving him loyally during the 
Civil War. It was consequently the greatest of 
blows to such a father when his son joined the rebel 
camp. Though there is nothing amongst the family 
letters to show Basil's reasons for going against his 
father's wishes, there is equally no proof, nor hint, 
that he acted as he did from any personal ambition. 
His motives, indeed, appear to have been just and 
honourable. 

It may be interesting to give here a few extracts 
from Lady Denbigh's letters written at this time to 
her son. Basil must evidently have made his inclina- 
tion towards the parliamentary cause known to his 
parents before the war actually broke out, for we find 
the following undated letter from his mother to him : 
" I am informed that the Bishops will be inquestioned 
in the begening of next wicke for ther votes in the 
Hous; therefore I would intretc you to absent your 



72 LUTTERWORTH 

selfe at that tyme, that you make not the last error 
worse than the furst, to the perpetuell gref of the 
hearte of your poore mother." 

Then on the nth July 1642, after the declaration 
of war, there is an earnest appeal to Basil not to take 
arms against the King, but to go " to Nuenham 
(Newnham Paddox), and go not with them (the 
King's enemies) in any of these actions. . . . I cannot 
forget what a son I had once, and I hope to see him 
so agane." 

Lady Denbigh wrote many other letters to this 
son. They are all in the same strain, begging him 
to return to the Royalist camp. They failed, how- 
ever, in their purpose, as is proved by the following 
letter written shortly before the battle of Edgehill in 
which father and son fought on opposite sides. " The 
perpetuel fere I am in of hereing of wors and wors 
nuce- (news) of my poor Master (the King) makes me 
abounde with sorroue, and I hope you will not be 
against him, for now it is plainly seene what is 
aimed at." 

Then follow two more appeals to him not to fight 
against the person of the King. " I do intrete you to 
be kind to the King, for by this tyme you see howe 
much he is wronged. . . . Our Lord of His marci 
send an end to these descensions of these trobelsom 
tymes." 

** I cannot refrane from righting (writing) to you, 
and withall to beg of you to have a care of your selfe 
and of your honner, and as you have ever professed 
to me and all your friends that you would not be 
against the person of the King, and noue it is planely 
declared what is intended to him and his royall 




.*»Li.-^AN, (<>LfNIK>> ot l>lNi;|i,ii 



THE FEILDINGS— LORDS OF THE MANOR 73 

authority, so noue is the tyme to make your selfe and 
me happy by letting all the world see who have been 
deluded all this tyme by them that pretend to be of 
the commonwelth. It is more seene what ther ame 
is, but I hope you will leave them and go to the 
King to gane the reputation you have loust. Being 
with them you shall be well receved by the King, 
only let it be in tyme, for I do beleeve the King will 
have the better of his enymies." 

Basil, however, still continued fighting for Parlia- 
ment against the King. He soon 'gained the reputa- 
tion of being one of the best commanders in the army, 
as well as the most humane, for his kindly treatment 
of those under him, a rare quality in those days. He 
rendered many great services to his cause ; he helped 
to open again the main road to London from the 
north, by capturing Russell House in Staffordshire 
and Cholmondely House in Chester in 1644. 

He was regarded by the other side as one of the 
ablest generals their enemy possessed, and there can 
be no doubt but that he contributed largely to the 
success of the parliamentary army. 

In 1643 his father was severely wounded in a 
skirmish near Birmingham, and died shortly after of 
his injuries. 

The Civil War continued to drag on until Oxford, 
where Charles had so long held his Court, surrendered 
to General Fairfax in June 1646. The King, being 
shortly after beaten in the field, decided in despair to 
trust himself to the Scotch army, which was then 
as far south as Nottinghamshire. 

Charles' faithlessness had by this lime deprived 
him of most of his friends, and, in spite of many 



74 LUTTERWORTH 

promises made to the country, the Scotch in January 
1647 treacherously handed him over to his enemies 
for a large sum of money. 

The King as a prisoner was moved about from 
place to place ; once he escaped, but soon was re- 
captured. The Commonwealth was now victorious 
over all its enemies. After imprisoning those mem- 
bers of the House of Commons who had voted in 
favour of an agreement with the King, the Round- 
heads tried and condemned Charles himself on a 
charge of high treason, and executed him in 1649. 

The widowed Queen Henrietta Maria, being 
exiled to France, was followed thither by many of 
her ladies, amongst whom was Su Denbigh. The 
latter was held in great esteem by the Queen, and 
remained with her till 1652, when she died, without 
the happiness of seeing her son reconciled once more 
to the Crown. 

At the Restoration, Basil, Earl of Denbigh, 
tendered his submission, and was officially pardoned 
by Charles H. The pardon, with the Royal Seal 
attached to it, is preserved at Newnham. Basil, 
through the special favour of Charles H, was created 
Baron St. Liz in 1664. He married four times, but 
without issue, and died at Dunstable on his way to 
London in November 1675. His body was brought 
back to Newnham and buried in Monks Kirby 
Church. 

From Basil's brother John is descended Henry 
Feilding, the famous novelist. 

George Feilding, younger brother to Basil, was 
created Baron Feilding of Lecaghe and Viscount 
Callan. He was given later the reversion of the 



THE FEILDINGS— LORDS OF THE MANOR 75 

title of Desmond on the death of the then Earl of 
that name, conditionally on his marrying Desmond's 
only daughter. But this lady, having a will of her 
own, objected to having her matrimonial affairs 
arranged for her, and refused to marry Lord Feilding. 
At her father's death George Feilding still kept his 
right to the title of Desmond, there being no direct 
male heir. Basil, dying without issue in 1675, the 
two titles became merged. 

William, eldest son of George, succeeding his 
uncle in 1675, thus became third Earl of Denbigh, 
being already second Earl of Desmond. He was 
Deputy Lord-Lieutenant for Warwickshire in 1682 
until 1685. He married first Mary, widow of Sir 
William Meredith, by whom he had two sons and a 
daughter; and after her death in 1669 he married 
Mary Carey, daughter of the Earl of Monmouth, but 
she died without issue on 9th December 17 19. He 
died in 1685 at Canonbury House in Middlesex, and 
is buried in the old family vault in Monks Kirby 
Church, where lie the remains of the first and second 
Earls of Denbigh. 

William was succeeded by his eldest son Basil, 
who, at the early age of seventeen, matriculated at 
Christ Church, Oxford. In 1694 he was Colonel of a 
regiment of Dragoons and Master of the Horse to 
Prince George of Denmark till 1695. He also held 
the office of Lord- Lieutenant of Leicestershire for 
four years. He married Hester, the daughter and 
sole heir of Sir Basil 1' irebrace, son of the devoted 
Royalist, Sir Henry Eirebrace, who attended 
Charles I on the scaffold, there receiving, as a mark 
of gratitude from the King, His Majesty's miniature 



ye LUTTERWORTH 

set in diamonds in a small ring. This ring is still in 
the possession of the present Earl of Denbigh, and 
is regfarded as one of his greatest treasures. 

Basil, Lord Denbigh, died about 1716 or 17 17, 
leaving as his heir his eldest son William. 

The fifth Earl also matriculated at Christ Church, 
Oxford, at an early age. He married about 17 18 
Isabella de Yonge of Utrecht, and by her had one son, 
Basil, who succeeded him. 

Basil was cupbearer to King George III at his 
Coronation in 1761, having also been a Privy 
Councillor to George II. He married in 1757 Mary, 
the daughter of Sir Robert Bruce Cotton, the last 
male heir of the great antiquary, Sir Robert Cotton, 
who, at a vast expense and labour, procured that 
invaluable collection known as the Cottonian Library, 
now in the British Museum. 

There is an interesting anecdote told concerning 
this Mary Cotton. She and Lord Denbigh, journey- 
ing up to London in a coach, stopped, as was their 
custom, at a wayside inn on the Watling Street Road. 
This inn was then, and still is, called " Denbigh Hall " 
by reason of its being the place where the family 
always changed horses. The innkeeper asked Lady 
Denbigh if she would allow his nephew, whose 
father kept an inn on the Bath Road, to do her 
portrait. She willingly, and we may imagine 
smilingly, consented. The portrait, in pastelle, ex- 
cellently rendered, is now among the treasures at 
Newnham. The lad became celebrated afterwards 
as the great court painter. Sir Thomas Lawrence. 
This portrait of Lady Denbigh is one of his first 
recorded efforts. 



THE FEILDINGS— LORDS OF THE MANOR ^^ 

She died on 14th October 1782, and Basil 
married again, in less than twelve months, Sarah, 
widow of Sir Edward Farnham of Ouorndon House, 
in Leicestershire. 

By his wife, Mary Cotton, Lord Denbigh had 
two sons. The elder, William, married Anne Powys 
of Berwick House, near Shrewsbury, where at the 
entrance to the drive there used to stand some 
maornificent old wrous^ht-iron urates. 

Berwick House and the property were left by 
Thomas Yelf Powys, the father of Anne, to her 
second son, Henry Wentworth (who took the name 
of Powys), for he did not wish that Berwick and 
Newnham should fall into the same hands. But both 
Henry and his younger brother Everard dying 
without issue, all the Powys possessions passed in 
1876 to the eighth Earl of Denbigh. At the sale of 
Berwick in the following year the gates were erected 
on their present site at Newnham Paddox, after 
beinor restored at Norwich and havino^ the Feildincj 
arms added. These gates are the second best of 
their kind in England, the first place being held 
by those owned by the Duke of Westminster at 
Eaton ; they were both made by the celebrated 
Roberts Brothers in the late seventeenth, or early 
eighteenth, century. The exact date of the Newnham 
Gates is uncertain, but there is a tradition that they 
were ordered by a French nobleman, and, he being 
unable to pay for them, they were then bought and 
erected at Berwick. 

On entering the army Viscount Feilding was 
promoted rapidly, becoming eventually a major- 
general. He raised the 22nd Regiment of Dragoons, 



7% LUTTERWORTH 

but died during his father's Hfetime, being seized with 
a severe malady while on a visit to Newcastle, of 
which he expired after a few days' illness. His body 
was brought to Monks Kirby for interment. In 
those days when there were no railways, it must have 
been a great undertaking to have brought a body 
such a long distance for burial. Years afterwards an 
old man who lived in Monks Kirby remarked to a 
member of the family that he remembered very well 
when the young lord was brought from "foreign 
parts " to be buried at his old home. This old man 
had never seen a railway train in his life, and was 
evidently convinced that the distance between his 
village, which he had never left, and Newcastle was 
great enough to constitute sufficient reason for the 
town being styled a "foreign part." 

William and his father, who died in July 1800, 
were the last of the family to be buried in the old 
vault at Monks Kirby. 

Basil was succeeded by his grandson, William, 
eldest surviving son of the above Viscount Feilding. 
Born at Berwick House and educated at Trinity 
College, Cambridge, he matriculated in 181 6. 
Chamberlain to Queen Adelaide during the King's 
life, he was her Master of Horse during that period 
and during her widowhood, in which latter period 
the Queen paid a visit to Newnham Paddox. The 
room she used is, to this day, known as "the Queen's 
Room," and a large carpet, specially made, with the 
family arms, etc., which she presented to her host, is 
still preserved at Newnham. 

Lord Denbigh married Mary, daughter of the 
first Earl of Ducie ; she died twenty years after 




y. 



THE FEILDINGS— LORDS OF THE MANOR 79 

their marriage, in the forty-fourth year of her age, 
leaving him with eleven children. Two of these, 
Percy and William, entered the Coldstream Guards 
and fouoht in the Crimean War, one as Lieutenant- 
General and the other as INIajor-Gcneral. Each in 
turn commanded the regiment. 

The eldest son, Rudolph, succeeded to the title 
on his father's death in 1865. He was educated at 
Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1846 he 
had married Louisa Pennant, only daughter and 
heiress of David Pennant, son of Thomas, the famous 
naturalist and antiquary, and through her had come 
into possession of Thomas Pennant's beautiful home 
of Downing Hall, Flintshire. 

Louisa Pennant died without issue seven years 
after their marriage, being only twenty-four years of 
age. F'our years later Lord Feilding married Mary 
Berkeley, of Spetchley, Worcestershire. He suc- 
ceeded his father in 1865 and died in 1892. Lady 
Denbigh survived him nine years, dying in Rome in 
the year 1901. 

Their eldest son, Rudolph, the present and 
ninth Earl of Denbigh, inheriting the titles, home, 
and estates of the Feildings, brings this brief history 
of an old Lutterworth family up to date. 



XVI 

ADMINISTRATION OF LAW IN 
LUTTERWORTH 

THERE are many persons who have resided 
all their lives in Lutterworth or its neigh- 
bourhood and yet have not the slightest idea 
that almost daily they pass and repass an ancient 
prison with cells and dungeons dating back possibly 
to mediaeval times. 

We have seen that five hundred years ago the 
burgesses of Lutterworth were free of suit of the 
County and the Hundred — in other words, were not 
compelled to seek justice in either the County or the 
Hundred Court, as they had their own independent 
tribunal. And here in our Hioh Street is a court- 
house with prison still standing, although unrecognized, 
which no doubt carries us back to the days when 
rough justice was administered by this very tribunal. 
At the bottom of High Street, where Regent 
Street branches off, will be observed a curiously 
constructed edifice. This was the Justice House of 
bygone years. The upper part of this ancient place 
was the Constable's house, and below are the prisons 
in which offenders were confined. Probably the 
largest room on the ground floor was the court- 
room, and here, no doubt, many a malefactor has re- 



ADMINISTRATION OF LAW IN LUTTERWORTH 8i 

ceived his sentence. Some slight echo of a murder 
trial, the initial stages of which may have taken place 
in this room, is still to be found on a small slate grave- 
stone in the churchyard which reads : — 

IN MEMORY OF 

WILLIAM BANBURY 

KILLED BY ROBBERS 

UPON OVER HEATH 

NOV. 25 1676 

The unfortunate man whose untimely death is 
here recorded was a Lutterworth tradesman who 
had journeyed to Rugby on business. As he was 
crossing Over Heath (a primeval heath, part of 
which still survives in Swinford Gorse) on his way 
home he was attacked by robbers, robbed, and 
murdered. His body was subsequently found in a 
field still called " Deadman's Field," which is close 
beside the Rugby Road, near the village of Churchover. 
Suspicion fell upon a man as implicated in the crime. 
He was tried, condemned, and executed, being 
gibbeted at the spot where the Rugby and Lutter- 
worth Road crosses the Watling Street, and which is 
known as "the Gibbet" to this day. The prisons 
under the court-house consist of five separate 
dungeons, connected by an underground passage with 
a sixth known as "the Cage." They extend under 
Regent Street, and are now bricked up. " The Cage " 
itself was an important institution, being a vaulted 
cavern penetrating some way into the bank beneath 
Regent Street, and open to the front facing on to 
High Street, save for massive iron bars or railings, 
6 



82 LUTTERWORTH 

through which the miserable occupants were exposed 
to the ridicule or execration of the not overrefined 
townsfolk. As late as the Peninsula War many of 
the soldiers who fell into our hands were distributed 
throughout the prisons of the land, Lutterworth re- 
ceiving its quota. To the lasting disgrace of our 
town — and our country, for the matter of that — some 
of these unfortunate men were actually confined in 
"the Cage," where, it is related, those whom we 
blush to call our forefathers deemed it sport to jeer 
and throw stones at them ! 

The parish constable of olden days appears to 
have been a law in himself. He had power to arrest 
any man or woman, and to thrust them into prison at 
his own discretion. The Constable's Account Books 
of Lutterworth present a grim list of men and women 
whipped according to law ; in fact, the very first 
entry preserved is the names of those vagrants who 
had been taken up and whipped in Lutterworth 
between the 15th October 1657 and the 30th 
September 1658 by Thomas Cattell and Henry 
Pope, constables. 

Besides the cat-o'-nine-tails, Lutterworth rejoiced 
in the possession of a penal institution now long 
forgotten. It had a " cuck-stool," in which the 
constable ducked scolding and foul-mouthed women 
in the adjoining river. It is thus mentioned in the 
Account Book : " 1654. For repairing the cuck-stool 
and for a new wheel to it, iid." 

The same accounts also contain an item for the 
repair of the cage, namely: " 1656. Paid Carter for 
mending the cage and lock for same, is. 6d." The 
cage, it may here be remarked, remained in use until 



ADMINISTRATION OF LAW IN LUTTERWORTH 83 

somewhere about the year 1820, when ajman named 
Childs, a member of an old-established Lutterworth 
family, was confined in it. Apparently finding the 
disgrace oi his situation intolerable, he hanged him- 
self during the night, upon which an order was issued 
by the Justices of the Peace that the cage be closed 
up and prisoners no longer confined in it. This 
order was carried out, and the cage, which had played 
such an important part in the civic life of Lutterworth, 
was bricked up and so remains to this day. Poor 
Childs ! Who can gauge the terrors which he ex- 
perienced during that last haunting night, with the 
clammy shades of centuries of Lutterworth's criminals 
for his sole companions ? We know not with what 
offence he himself stood charged ; but no matter how 
heinous, it seems to us that by his death he made 
ample amends, and that across the bricked-up entrance 
might well be carved, in letters plain to see, the name of 
the man who by his death freed Lutterworth from the 
last incubus of barbarism. 

It was humorously observed by Sydney Smith 
that the existence of a gallows in any country was 
one of the signs of civilization. Judged by this 
standard, Lutterworth with its whip, its cuck-stool, 
and its cage may be said to have been fairly abreast 
of the times in the seventeenth century. 

We have evidence of the use of the cuck-stool 
in 1657, when an entry in the Constable's Accounts 
records, under date 20th May : " Paid Warde for 
erecting the cuck-stool for labour, timber, and ex- 
penses, I OS." 

Whipping was carried out as late as the early 
part of last century. The late Mr. James Yateman 



84 LUTTERWORTH 

used to tell how his father had witnessed an instance. 
A tramp had come into the town and, calling at the 
" Wheat Sheaf Inn," had asked for bread, cheese, and 
beer, telling the landlord that a well-known trades- 
man, whose name he gave, had authorized him to do 
this and would be responsible for payment. Suspect- 
ing the bona fides of this man, the landlord supplied 
him with a sufficient repast to keep him occupied 
while he himself slipped round to the tradesman in 
question, only to receive, as he had anticipated, an 
assurance that he had given no such authority. The 
parish constable was fetched and the impostor given 
into custody. This official seems to have immedi- 
ately satisfied himself that the man was a rogue and 
a vagabond, and forthwith sentenced him to be 
publicly whipped. 

Thereupon the culprit was marched to the Old 
Prison at the bottom of High Street, where he was 
stripped to the waist and chained to the tail of a cart 
drawn by a horse. Then the Town Crier going 
before, ringing his bell, and calling attention to the 
punishment meted out to idle men, the procession 
passed through the streets, the unfortunate offender 
being mercilessly whipped the while. At the con- 
clusion of the ordeal he was turned out of the town. 

Women, too, were sometimes publicly whipped, 
mostly for the offence of begging from door to door. 

There is yet one other relic of old-time penal 
institutions in the remains of the Parish Stocks. 
This minor form of punishment was common in every 
village a century ago, mostly for drunkenness. In 
their palmiest days the Lutterworth stocks stood just 
at the back of the present Town Hall, but were 



ADMINISTRATION OF LAW IN LUTTERWORTH 85 

removed when this buildins: was erected, to Bake- 
house Lane (now Baker Street), and set up near 
the ancient Pound, where strayiny^ cattle were kept 
until the owner paid a fine. When this old place 
was demolished the stocks were condemned, and now 
all that remains of them are the two upright posts, 
which are doing duty as posts to a garden gate 
on the Bitteswell Road. The last man imprisoned 
in the stocks in Lutterworth was one John Moore, 
known as " Long John," a well-remembered in- 
habitant. 

After the High Street prison was condemned, a 
temporary prison was constructed in the Old Work- 
house Square, George Street, which at that time was 
enclosed by iron gates. This gave place to the 
present Police Station on the Leicester Road in 
1838. 



F 



XVII 
TRADE IN LUTTERWORTH 

ROM the earliest times Lutterworth has been 
i an agricultural centre, and agriculture has 

formed the staple industry of its inhabitants. 
There is no record to be found of art or craftsman- 
ship in the town until we come to the year 1462, 
when we find that John Lee of Lutterworth, in 
consideration of 6s. 8d. paid to him annually in the 
south porch of Market Harboro' Church, bound 
himself to keep the chimes there " in good, sweet, 
and solemn tone of music." This record is of peculiar 
interest to us, as there is a possibility that the site 
of this artificer's workshop can still be pointed out 
in Lutterworth. On the west side of High Street, 
proceeding towards the river, there are at the back 
of a shop, about half-way down the street, premises 
which have beyond doubt at some time or other 
been occupied as a smith's workshop. The building, 
which bears evidence of age, contains a forge not 
in the least resembling a blacksmith's forge of the 
present day. It is built of the narrow bricks used 
in ancient buildings, and below it is a cellar built 
entirely of rubble, with shelving running round the 
room a few feet from the floor. Here, quite possibly, 
John Lee carried on his trade of bell-smith. 

86 



TRADE IN LUTTERWORTH 87 

Lutterworth evidently prospered in the sixteenth 
century, as when Burton, the county historian, wrote 
of it at the commencement of the seventeenth century 
he said : " This town stands on exceedingly good soil 
and is very much frequented, standing not far from 
the street-way. Having also a very good market 
upon the Thursday, to which is brought exceedingly 
good corn in great abundance and all other com- 
modities such as the country affordeth. 

" It hath a fair upon Ascension or Holy Thursday 
called heretofore Lord Ferrers' Holiday, who some- 
time was lord of the town. It hath a very fair and 
large church with an high and neat spire steeple." 

Such is the picture of Lutterworth soon after 
"Good Queen Bess" had passed away: a happy, 
prosperous community, one to be envied. 

The historian g-ives the secret of its wealth when 
he writes of the fertility of the soil. The country 
all round was under cultivation until comparatively 
recent times, and some of the finest corn in the land 
was produced in the district. These were the days 
when wheat was grown at a profit, and when farmers 
became rich. From somewhere about the time of 
Wycliffe a duty existed on corn, and in years of great 
abundance the Government was accustomed to pay 
a bounty for its exportation, consequently its produc- 
tion was always remunerative. Now it has been said 
there is scarcely a cornfield within a mile of Lutter- 
worth. This may not be strictly accurate, but the 
fact implied, namely, that the cultivation of corn has 
ceased to be the main industry of our district, is 
undoubtedly correct. 

Lutterworth felt the distressing times of the Civil 



88 LUTTERWORTH 

War keenly in common with the rest of the nation. 
There was a shortage of coinage. To meet this 
difficulty many tradesmen issued small copper coins, 
known as tokens, of their own. In our own town 
tokens were issued by the following : Edward Revell 
at the "George Inn," Peter Mackarnes, H. E. W. 
Dyer, and George Tilley. 

As these little objects are of such extreme interest, 
we give a description of all the known varieties : — 

1. Edward Revell — 

Obv. ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON. 
Rev. IN LVTTERWORTH— E.R. 

2. Peter Mackarnes — 

Obv. PETER MACKARNES— P.A.M. 
Rev. IN LVTTERWORTH— 1662. 

A specimen of this token has recently been presented to Leicester 
Borough Museum by the author. 

Obv. PETER MACKARNES— P.A.M. 
Rev. IN LETERWORTH MERCER— 1657. 

3. H. E. IV. Dyer— 

Obv. IN COVENTRY SOVTHAM— H.E.W. 
Rev. RVGBY LVTTERWORTH— DYER 1666. 

4. George Tilley — 

Obv. GEORGE TILLEY MERCER— (The Royal Arms). 
Rev. HIS HALFE-PENNY-G.T.— LVTTERWORTH 1667. 

This token, which is in the possession of the author, is unpublished 
and believed to be unique. 



XVIII 
THE MILLS 

IN order to follow the records of the Lutterworth 
mills it is necessary to keep clearly in one's mind 
that there were two distinct mills, or rather groups 
of mills — the lord's mills and the Hospital mills. 

The Hospital mills originated in special grants to 
the Hospital of St. John, but the lord's mills arose 
in this way. From the earliest times people were 
accustomed to grind their corn in querns or handmills 
in their own homes. With the introduction of water- 
power they naturally became desirous to relieve 
themselves of the labour entailed by the more 
primitive method ; but being unable themselves to 
afford the construction of watermills, they petitioned 
the King to build them for them, binding themselves 
and their successors for ever in return to grind their 
corn at such mills upon certain terms. The mills so 
constructed were then farmed out by the Crown to 
private individuals. 

Both groups of Lutterworth mills lighted upon 
evil days, and their monopolies were finally abolished 
in 1758, at which date they all appear to have been 
in the possession of a Mr. Robert Shuttleworth. 
The story of the Lodge Mill, the lord's mill, forms 
an interesting chapter in the history of Lutterworth. 

l>9 



90 LUTTERWORTH 

About a mile and a half down the banks of the Swift 
from the Spital Bridge at Lutterworth, close to the 
old Roman Watling Street, may still be found the 
remains of the ancient Lodge Mill. It is an in- 
accessible place known as Moorbarns — the moor 
where the barns were — still the haunt of the heron 
and kingfisher, and where the brown owl builds its 
nest. So desolate a place is it, in fact, that when the 
Enclosure Act came into force in 1790, it had to be 
expressly enacted that this moor should not be exempt 
from the provisions of the Act. 

It was to this mill that reference was made in the 
State Inquiry of 1273 ; but to what antiquity it goes 
back it is difficult to determine. It was to this mill, 
too, that the inhabitants of Lutterworth were under 
obligation to carry their corn for grinding. For 
many ages the people were content to abide by the 
arrangements which they or their forefathers had 
made; but in 161 3, when probably the origin of the 
mill had become forgotten, the people first prayed to 
be relieved of what they had come to regard as an 
imposition. The case was heard in Westminster 
Hall ; but the spirit of feudalism was not yet dead, 
and it was decided against the inhabitants. In the 
judgment given on this occasion it is set forth that 
King James was seised " in demesne as of fee in 
right of the Crown of England of the said mills, etc., 
and did grant them in fee farm unto Edward Ferrers 
and Fras. Phillips, gentlemen and their heirs and 
assigns together with all the suit of mills and benefit 
of grinding and mulcture, reserving unto his said 
late Majesty his heirs and successors for ever the 
yearly rent of ^5." 



THE MILLS 91 

The judgment, however, gave the inhabitants the 
option of going to the Spital mills if their corn, grist, 
or malt were not ground within twenty-four hours. 

The people bowed to this decision with reluct- 
ance ; but at length a patriot arose, whose name was 
Bickley, who not only roused his fellow-townsmen 
to resistance, but actually had the timerity to erect 
a mill of his own. His example was followed by 
others, and several mills raised their heads in defiance 
of the lord's rights. The owner of the manorial mills 
at the time was, as we have seen, a Mr. Shuttleworth, 
and he forthwith commenced proceedings against 
the oftenders. All the inhabitants thereupon entered 
into a bond to defend the action. It was heard at 
the Leicester Assizes on the 14th July 1758, and 
the verdict was given in favour of the parishioners 
with ^300 costs. 

In consequence of this decision Mr, Shuttleworth 
destroyed an ancient malt mill called "the Horse 
Mill " and the Lodge Mill, and shortly afterwards 
severed his connexion with the neiohbourhood. The 
Horse Mill stood near the church in Bakehouse 
Lane ; the site of the latter we have already 
recorded. 

To the old Lodge Mill attaches the following 
interesting story. One day, early in the seventeenth 
century, some one approaching the mill on business 
found the place silent and deserted. The sole 
occupants at the time were the miller and his man ; 
but neither of these could be found. The matter 
was at once taken up by the constable and the local 
authorities, and, upon investigation, it was discovered 
that all money, of which there should have been a 



92 LUTTERWORTH 

considerable sum, had disappeared. No trace what- 
ever could be found of the aged master, and the 
circumstances pointed to the commission of a brutal 
murder. Suspicion naturally at once fell upon the 
missing servant ; but no clue to his whereabouts could 
be found. The matter attracted great attention at 
the time, the miller being a member of a well-known 
and highly respected family. 

It was an easy thing for a criminal to escape from 
a lonely spot like the Lodge Mill in bygone days, 
and to reach a part of the country where no one would 
know anything about him. And so it happened in this 
case : nothing was discovered, and the matter became 
an unsolved mystery. 

Twenty years passed, and one day men engaged 
in laying a drain through the garden of the mill came 
upon the remains of the old master who had been 
lost so many years. He had evidently been murdered 
by his servant and buried in the garden, all trace 
of the grave having been carefully concealed. 

News of the discovery soon reached Lutterworth. 
It so happened that one of the fairs for which the 
town was noted was in progress, and the streets were 
thronged with people, many of them strangers ; and 
the news was taken up and the story of the old crime 
recalled in every public-house. Amongst those at- 
tending the fair, by a curious coincidence, was the 
very man who had committed the dastardly deed 
twenty years before. He had fled to another part 
of the country, it subsequently transpired, where his 
crime was never likely to be known ; but, thinking 
that all remembrance of it would now have faded, 
he had returned to Lutterworth that very day. 



THE MILLS 93 

Everywhere he went people were talking of the 
crime, until at length he became so terrified that he 
went to the constable, confessed his guilt, and gave 
himself into custody. He was tried, condemned, and 
executed. The above story is preserved in a book 
of moral and religious anecdotes under the title, 
" Be sure your sins will find you out," in addition to 
having been handed down by local tradition. 



XIX 

THE GREAT STORM OF 1703 AND DE- 
STRUCTION OF THE CHURCH SPIRE 

LUTTERWORTH seems to have been 
tolerably immune, as old towns go, from 
disaster on an extensive scale. There is 
record of a fire in 1679 which destroyed nine bays 
of buildings ; but it is stated that no dwelling-house 
was injured. The great storm which swept the land 
in 1703, however, did not leave the town unscathed, 
but robbed our church of the noble spire which for 
long had been one of its most cherished features. 

Sir Thomas Cave of Stanford Hall, from whose 
park Lutterworth spire was visible, speaks of the loss 
as one mourning for a friend. Writing shortly after 
the event, he says: "The town of Lutterworth is 
situated on a pretty eminence, the church appearing 
over the houses in very agreeable manner, no other 
public building to give grace to this. 

" Nor, indeed, is the church so great a decoration 
to the town as before it felt the severity of the dread- 
ful and furious gale which happened in 1703, the 
violence of which blew down the remarkably fine 
and beautiful spire of the Parish Church, which at 
that time was 47 feet higher than the present 

turret ; nor did it only give grandeur and dignity to 

94 



THE GREAT STORM OF 1703 95 

the town it belonged to, but even guided the steps 
of wandering trav^ellers. 

" Such was the enmity of this tempest that it blew 
the lofty spire directly on the roof of the nave, by 
which means the whole covering was beaten in and 
demolished, and great damage was done to the fabric 
of the church, for the repair of which a Brief was 
granted in order to procure a national collection." 

The great storm here recorded was probably 
without parallel, and it is with feelings of relief that 
we remember that it occurred at a time when no 
Divine Service was being held in the Parish Church, 
or the consequences must have inevitably been too 
terrible for contemplation. 

John Evelyn, in his Diary dated the 26th and 27th 
November 1703, thus speaks of this storm : — 

"The effect of the hurricane and tempest of 
wind and rain and liohtnin^" throuc^h all the nation, 
especially London, were very dismal. Many houses 
were demolished and people killed. As to my own 
losses and the subversion of wood and timber, both 
ornamental and valuable, through my whole estate 
and about my house, the woods crowning the garden 
mounts and growing along the park meadows and 
damage done to my own dwelling, farm, and out- 
houses is almost tragical, not to be paralleled with 
anything happening in our age. I am not able to 
describe it, but submit it to the pleasure of God." 

History says the same storm destroyed the spire 
of Monks Kirby Church, five miles distant, and that 
many more spires were blown down in the district 
the same night. 

As Sir Thomas Cave mentions, a Brief was 



96 LUTTERWORTH 

obtained for the rebuilding of Lutterworth spire. 
We give the text of this Brief in the Appendix. A 
certain amount of money was collected, but the spire 
was never rebuilt, and the disposition of the money 
led to great unpleasantness and ultimately to Chancery 
proceedings. Nichols, in his History and Antiquities 
of Leicestershire, takes the matter up warmly, and, 
living within memory of the event, his testimony is of 
special value. He says : " The Rev. Henry Meriton 
was rector of the parish, and zealously laboured to 
secure the Brief and soliciting and collecting thereon. 
He was a man of known integrity and in great esteem 
among bishops and clergy of his time. And yet 
notwithstanding this public instance of regard for 
him, he was several years afterwards called to account 
in the Court of Chancery, not for embezzling, but for 
misapplying the contribution that had been collected, 
which (as informants pretended) was given for the 
repair of the steeple and body of the church, but had 
been laid out in new pewing and decorating the body 
of the church to a greater degree than was necessary." 

Dr. Meriton in his justification produced a writing 
which was described to be a request for a contribution 
for the repair and beautifying of the church, in which 
he had met with much encouragement, and that he 
used two separate papers in the collection, one 
endorsed on the printed copy "Copy of the Brief," 
the other on the separate paper above mentioned. 

The matter in controversy was after some time 
referred to arbitration, Sir Wolstan Dixie, Bart, and 
Dr. Wells, then rector of Cotesbach, being referees. 

At length the award was made and the whole 
affair composed and ended; "but not (as Nichols 






."■ v 



'■f^. 'J 



"^ ^S 



-r^Cf 



«?■.- 




^\%t , <'r^ 



-*t.^fc- 






^ z 









^&3&. 



THE GREAT STORM OF 1703 97 

remarks) before the tempest of persecution had 
reduced the rector to a ruinous state of health, as 
the grief and trouble consequent on this litigation 
shortened the life of this industrious and exemplary 
ivme. 

Dr. Meriton died in 17 10, and was buried in the 
north aisle of the church, his wife, who survived him 
but a short time, being buried by his side. 

Notwithstanding the excellent testimony of the 
historian as to the virtue of Dr. Meriton, it is difficult 
to understand how far the church benefited by the 
national contribution expressly subscribed for its 
restoration. The only record we have is an item of 
£^0 in the Churchwarden's Accounts for 1705 as 
payment for repairs to bells and belfry. Not until 
1 76 1 was the complete restoration taken in hand, and 
we then read that in this year " the church was 
beautified with a costly pavement of chequered stone, 
new pews of oak, and everything else both in church 
and chancel except the pulpit, which from its situation 
received no material injury when the roof was beat 
in by storm." It is the historian Nichols we are 
again quoting; but we think he must be including in 
this restoration the work ascribed to the unfortunate 
Dr. Meriton, who, as we have seen, was accused of 
expending the money obtained by public subscription 
upon new pews and decoration to the body of the 
church. 

Whether the font in use in Wycliffe's time 
perished at the fall of the spire, or whether it was 
removed at the restoration whicii followed, is not 
clear: probably the former, for in 1704 we find the 
presentation to the church by Basil, Earl of Denbigh, 
7 



98 LUTTERWORTH 

of a font consisting of a basin of Warwickshire marble 
on a pillar of the same, mounted on circular stone 
steps, the arms of the donor being engraved on a 
plate attached to the font. A wooden model of the 
lost spire formed a cover to this font until they were 
both superseded by the present font of Painswick 
stone. 

It was in the year 1761 that the restoration of the 
tower as we see it now was completed. The cost 
is stated to have been ^366, and the account is 
vouched by Thomas Billio, rector, R. Wilson, curate, 
and Thomas Coaton, clerk. The interior portion of 
the new tower is lined with brick, and is of very 
inferior workmanship to the ancient thirteenth-century 
work upon which it rests. 



XX 

LUTTERWORTH, 1750-1800 

THOSE who are privileged to live in Lutter- 
worth in these advanced times can scarcely 
realize the enormous improvement of the town 
and district which has taken place during the last 
century and a half. 

The great battle of Naseby, fought within view 
of the tower of our church, had brought invaluable 
political and social advantages in its train. Never- 
theless little progress seems to have been made in 
the opening up of the country or the development of 
trade during the first hundred and fifty years following 
that event. Much the same routine of life and labour 
prevailed at the commencement of the nineteenth 
century as existed in 1645. 

One of the chief obstacles to advancement was 
the need of good roads. Those which extended 
throughout the country were of such inferior quality 
as to render rapid transit impossible. " Necessity," 
however, " is the mother of invention " ; the country 
was ripe for improvement, and history therefore but 
repeats itself when it says that with the need came 
the inventors in the persons of Thomas Telford and 
John Metcalf. Hy the genius of these two men it is 
not too much to say that the trade and commerce of 
the whole realm was revolutionized. 

09 



lOO LUTTERWORTH 

Somewhere about the year 1750 Metcalf, who was 
a blind man, gave up his business as a carrier and 
devoted himself to the art of road-making. So well 
did he succeed that in Yorkshire, Cheshire, and in 
Derbyshire he constructed turnpike roads of lasting 
value. The fashion spread, and in 1789 we find in 
consequence a full service of daily coaches passing 
through Lutterworth. 

Within the memory of residents still living the 
old Roman Watling Street was quite impracticable 
to loaded wagons during winter-time, and for that 
reason was studiously avoided. To-day it is the 
great motor route between London and Liverpool, 
and motor-cars are frequently to be seen dashing 
along its deserted reaches at paces sufficient to blanch 
the staid amble of legitimate speed. 

In the year 1778 we have distinct evidence of 
advancement in our town roads, for in that year the 
ancient bridge which spanned the river Swift at 
the south entrance to the town, with its narrow 
opening and high walls, most likely dating back to 
Wycliffe's time, gave way to a new and enlarged 
structure erected by public subscription. 

Next in importance to the construction of good 
roads we may place the Enclosure Act, which came 
into operation in 1790 and effected a great change 
in the appearance of the country. Our lordship was 
divided up into fields and planted with hedgerows 
as we see them to-day, and the whole district around 
(with the exception of one or two villages which 
had been enclosed at earlier dates) was at this date 
enclosed in like manner. Previous to the enclosure 
rights of pasture were often marked out by Boundary 



LUTTERWORTH, 1750-1800 loi 

Trees, and some of these are still standincr. There 
is one in Misterton Park and another in Cotesbach 
Fields. Amoncr the title-deeds to the land on which 
the present Cong^regational Church stands is one 
dated 1777, in which it is set out that the property 
is bounded on the western side by " the open fields 
of Lutterworth." 

Much interestincf information concerning the 
progress of Lutterworth is obtained from the Uni- 
versal Directory published in London, 1793-94, to 
which reference has already been made. From this 
source we learn that in Lutterworth in 1 7S9 there 
were 360 houses, which, on an average of 4^ persons to 
a house, gives a population of 1620. It records that — 

"The ALail daily passes through here for Chester 
and Holyhead." 

" The heavy coach passes through for Chester 
and Holyhead every Monday and Friday." 

"A wagron from Lutterworth sets out from the 
' Denbigh Arms ' every Saturday morning early and 
arrives at the 'Windmill Inn,' St. John Street, on 
Tuesday morning, loads the same day and leaves 
London on Wednesday morning, and arrives at 
Lutterworth on Saturday." 

In the Directory it is mentioned that most ot the 
houses are "semi-fluid," that is, constructed with walls 
of mud and usually thatched with straw. During 
the last century all the dwellings on the east side of 
High Street, with two exceptions, were rebuilt, dis- 
placing humble structures of mud and thatch or brick 
and timber, two stories \\vA\ and havinjr small leaded 
window j)anes aff<jrtling lillU,' opportunity for the 
display of merchandise in the tradesmen's shops. 



102 LUTTERWORTH 

The homes of the poorer people at this period 
were in a deplorable condition : sanitary arrangements 
there were none ; the floors of the lower stories were 
mother earth without brick or boards. A common 
ladder served as the only means for reaching the 
garrets which did duty for bedrooms above, and 
when in the first quarter of the nineteenth century 
brick and wooden floors and staircases came into 
common use, the people thought that at last they 
were really "coming to something." 

The staple business of the town during the latter 
part of the years under review was undoubtedly inn- 
keeping, for the streets were constantly thronged 
with visitors arriving by coach or being brought 
through in their own private carriages by posthorses 
hired by the stage. A large business was at one 
time done in the town by postmasters. 

The principal inns at the commencement of the 
nineteenth century were the "Denbigh Arms" kept 
by William Mash and the "Hind" by William 
Smith. The " Denbigh Arms " was originally founded 
by one of the Earls of Denbigh, who kept much 
company at his seat at Newnham Paddox and, ex- 
periencing difficulty in accommodating the servants 
and horses of his guests, caused this house to be 
built for his own convenience. The first innkeeper 
was one who had been his lordship's butler at 
Newnham Paddox. 

The "Hind" is of similar date, and in its day 
has seen equally flourishing business. 

Besides these two surviving inns there was another 
of more ancient origin which has vanished. It, too, 
was situate in the High Street, opposite to the 



LUTTERWORTIT, 1750-1800 103 

" Hind," where now Messrs. E. Dalby & Co. have 
a large draper's estabHshment. It extended to the 
adjoining premises of Mr. A. Buswell, chemist, and 
below both of these houses there are still extensive 
beer and wine cellars recallinor the fact that here 
once stood the " Black Swan Inn," as is proved by 
writings in Mr. Buswell's possession. To a popula- 
tion of about 1650 persons there were no less than 
twenty public-houses in Lutterworth some hundred and 
fifty years ago, and, as many of them still remain, it may 
be interestincT to record their names. In addition to 
those we have already mentioned there were — 

The "Board." The "Angel." 

,, "Fox." ,, "George." 

,, " Queen's I lead." ,, "Greyhound." 

„ "Peacock." ,, "Stag and Pheasant." 

„ "Bull." „ "Ram." 

„ "Bell." ., "White Hart." 

., "Crown." ,, " King's Head." 

., "Lion." ,, " Wheat Sheaf." 

,. " Coach and Horses." ,, "Unicorn." 

Other businesses also flourished. Saddlers and 
harness-makers were always busy : one master saddler 
employed over twenty hands on the premises now 
occupied by Mr. J. K. Smith, and which is one of 
the few buildincTs in Hiirh Strcft which have been 
in existence more than a century. 

In the year 1789 there is a record that there were 
seventeen teams of horses in the parish. These 
probably were used for purposes of agriculture and 
as cfjach horses. 



I04 LUTTERWORTH 

Then there were sixty worsted looms and thirty- 
one shoemakers. Ribbon-weaving and the weaving 
of Hnen sheeting also employed many hands in their 
own homes. It is stated that women working at 
the weaving trade could earn as much as ^i per 
week. The handloom has now quite disappeared. 

From what we have stated above as to the in- 
sanitary state of the town, especially the homes of 
the poorer classes, it will surprise no one to learn 
that there were times when the health of the town 
was deplorable. High Street was paved with large 
boulders, and on either side of the street was an 
open ditch into which the occupiers of the houses 
were accustomed to cast whatever they no longer 
desired to retain within, trusting to the good offices 
of a scavenging dog or a heavy shower of rain to 
remove it. Between the years 1750 and 1778 Lutter- 
worth was afflicted with visitations of smallpox and 
putrid fever which carried off many of its inhabitants. 

On the farms, however, prosperity was greatly 
in evidence. The orowinor of corn and rearing- of 
cattle, horses, and sheep were exceedingly re- 
munerative, and in consequence the demand for 
labour was great. Men and women and even quite 
young children were engaged in husbandry. 

The common wao-e of an aa"ricultural labourer 
a hundred years ago was a shilling a day, with 
hours timing from Vesper's bell to Curfew, i.e. from 
6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in winter and from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. 
in summer. The offspring of the agricultural labourer 
had no time or opportunity for even the most 
elementary education, but the children of tradesmen 
were better provided for in that they had the old 



LUTTERWORTH, 1750-1800 105 

Foundation School of Edward Sherrier and also 
certain benefits under Poole's Charity. The children 
of the very poor were allowed to grow up in the 
most oross ig^norance. 

It was to cope in some measure with this national 
disgrace that Sunday schools were first established. 
In Lutterworth the credit for their introduction is 
due to the Rev. Richard Wilson, who was head- 
master of Sherrier's School and curate of Lutter- 
worth from 1754 to 1794. 



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XXI 

THE LAST OF THE RESIDENT 
FEILDINGS 



A 



I'TER the senior branch of the Feildiiio^s 
had left Lutterworth and become established 
at Newnham Paddox the junior branch con- 
tinued to reside in the town, and one at least of their 
old houses is still standing and was, until com- 
paratively recent times, still spoken of as the 
"Manor House." Here, as far back as 1780, when 
Throsby visited the town, lived a Miss Feilding, 
whom the historian describes as one of the principal 
landed proprietors of the place. 

This lady, whom the old townspeople used to 
speak of as " Lady Feilding," lived to an advanced 
age, and there is a sad story told of her death. 
Miss Feilding was accustomed to pay frequent 
visits to her relations at Newnham Paddox, and on 
one occasion, when being driven there by a man 
named Mash, who was at the time landlord of the 
" Denbigh Arms," her carriage was overturned and 
the shock of the accident i)roved fatal. 

On her death in 1803 her property passed to 
her heir-at-law, Mr. Charles Palmer, who died about 
1820. One of his sons, also named Charles, was 

a lieutenant in the navy, who went on an early 

107 



io8 LUTTERWORTH 

Arctic expedition. Another son, Edward, married 
and had a son named Feilding, who took Holy Orders 
and died on the i6th April 1897. His widow, in 
the year 1900, built the Cottage Hospital at Lutter- 
worth on ground which she gave for the purpose 
in memory of her late husband. The name of Palmer 
appears in the history of Lutterworth from very 
early days. In the reign of Richard HI Richard 
Palmer, Gent, gave land at Sapcote for the benefit 
of the town. Again, in an old deed preserved in 
Leicester^ Museum relating to Lutterworth Charities, 
and dated 17 12, the names of Richard Palmer, Knight, 
and Edward Palmer, Knight, appear as trustees of 
Lutterworth Charities in the seventeenth century. 
Of the Manor House situate in the Old Cattle 
Market there is still a little more to relate. When 
this house was first converted into a private 
residence is not clear. At one time it was occupied 
as an inn known as the "George Inn." After Miss 
Feilding's death it became vacant, acquired the 
reputation of being haunted, and gradually fell 
into a ruinous condition. The windows were all 
broken with the exception of those belonging to 
one room on the top floor, where an old man, a 
pedlar, was permitted to live without rent or 
acknowledgment. 

When things were in this state Mr. Edward 
Palmer (father of the Rev. Feilding Palmer) visited 
Lutterworth with a view to residing in the old home ; 
but he found the house so decayed that he decided 
to build a new one for himself, and erected the high 
red-brick house standing on the Market Street 
almost opposite the " Ram Inn." The old Manor 



THE LAST OF THE RESIDENT FEILDINGS 109 

House subsequently became the property of a solicitor 
living in Lutterworth named Stephen Mash, who, on 
taking possession, restored it to its present condition. 
The original oak staircase and fireplace in the 
entrance hall bearing the double-headed eagle were 
carefully preserved. 

This house is now known as "The Elms," its 
past history having been more or less lost sight of. 
In recent times it has chano^ed hands more than 
once. 



XXII 

THE RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH 
AND DISCOVERY OF GLASS VIAL, 
1865-70 

IN the winter of 1865 the roof of the nave 
became so unsafe that it was found necessary to 
close the church. Upon examination it was 
discovered that the unscientific manner in which 
galleries had been inserted had thrust the walls from 
the perpendicular, and pillars and arches had been 
injured. 

As a result a Restoration Committee was formed, 
and the services of the great architect, Sir Gilbert 
Scott (then Mr. Scott), were engaged. He drew up 
an exhaustive report and approximately fixed the 
cost of restoration at ^"7000. 

Armed with this report, the committee set to work, 
and a subscription list was started headed by the 
aged rector, the Rev. R. H. Johnson, with the 
munificent sum of a thousand guineas. The remainder 
of the money was secured and the work taken in 
hand. Divine Services in the meantime being con- 
ducted in the Town Hall, 

In the chancel the windows were all restored ; 
the north wall, which had inclined outward, was made 
straight ; on the south side an ancient window which 



THE RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH in 

had been blocked up was discovered and opened ; and 
on the north side an aisle was added for the oro^an 
as well as a vestry. The roof was entirely renewed. 

In the nave it was found practicable to repair 
thoroughly the handsome roof; every beam was 
removed, repaired, and restored to its original place. 
The lead was recast and the stonework overhauled, 
every pillar being placed on a more solid foundation 
of brick and concrete. The tower arch, formerly 
blocked up by the organ gallery, was exposed to view 
in all its original strength and beauty. 

The north aisle, which had been in a scarcely less 
defective condition than the chancel, was restored, and 
the wall, which had acquired a considerable outward 
inclination, was straightened and made secure upon a 
concrete foundation. 

As we have seen, frescoes of great archaeological 
interest were disclosed during this restoration, and it 
may not be out of place to mention here the dis- 
covery of a small glass vial which has been described 
by Archdeacon Pownall, As the paper in which the 
discovery is reported deals also with a similar vial 
found at South Kilworth, and the conclusions arrived 
at by the learned author are based upon the double 
find, it is necessary to include the Kilworth glass 
here. The Archdeacon says : " In the autumn of 
the year 1868, whilst the church at South Kilworth 
was being restored, there was found among the 
foundations of the east wall of the chancel a little 
'vial' of glass about 5I inches in height. From the 
account given by the young labourer who found it, 
the vial seems to have been lying, bottom up- 
wards, among the stones and earthy rubbish of the 



112 LUTTERWORTH 

foundations, not less than from 3 to 4 feet below 
the then existing surface. In shape the glass tapers 
gradually, as a horn does, from its flattened base, 
where its diameter is if inches towards the point 
where a short neck begins (unfortunately much 
broken), at which point its diameter does not exceed 
an inch. It cannot be affirmed that its mouth had 
held a stopper, for the broken lip stays assertion ; 
nor can it be determined what may have been its 
contents, for all that was made out was a film of 
some substance lining the bottom which has never 
been analysed, and which only presented to the eye 
the appearance of the dried sediment of some fluid. 
The dull surface of the glass exhibits some irridescent 
colouring from partial disintegration of its substance. 
In the following spring this glass vessel was exhibited 
at a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries, and a 
description of it, together with a short account of the 
circumstances under which it was found, appeared in 
the Society's Proceedings {2nd Sen, vol. iv. p. 284). 
Various conjectures were offered at the time as to 
the probable use of the vessel and the causes which 
may have led to its being deposited in the foundations 
of a fourteenth-century chancel. None, however, 
appeared to have much weight or to be capable of 
proof, and two Fellows of the Society, whose opinions 
would have been listened to with reference every- 
where, Mr. Albert Wray and Mr. Augustus Franks, 
candidly confessed their inability to express any 
decided opinion on the subject. 

For the moment, therefore, the whole question 
dropped, and in the entire absence of mediaeval 
English o"lass in utensil form — orlass vessels which 



TIIK RESTORATION OF THE CHrRCIT 113 

wiih certainty can be assigned to the Middle Age — 
a reluctance to express any decided opinion was not 
unreasonable. That glass vessels were in use then 
for church purposes was perfectly well known through 
the inventories of church ooods which are in our 
hands ; nay, it is not outside the bounds of probability 
to suppose that such vessels have come down to our 
times and are existinir at the moment unrecognized, 
as regards their true character, in modern collections, 
but no antiquary has been able to lay his hand on 
any particular piece and say : " This is glass of the 
thirteenth, fourteenth, or fifteenth century." 

The earliest English glass (excluding, of course, 
from the remark, church-window glass) to which a date 
can be assigned lies in the Jermyn Street Museum, 
and goes no further back than Charles the Second's 
time, and the earliest English glass in the form of a 
utensil dates only from the time of the Georges. 

This fact invested with some interest, if not 
importance, the object discovered at South Kilworth 
if it could with safety be regarded as mediaeval, 
becau.se it appears before us as a unique specimen 
of ancient English vitreous ware. Further discovery 
of the same kind has since confirmed the goodness 
of conjectures which were then so cautiously advanced, 
for it appeared liiat during the restoration of the 
Parish Church at Lutterworth, 1867-69, two vials of 
similar description had been found. My first attempt 
to obtain particulars and to see them was unsuccessful. 
Two had certainly been found, but they had been 
lying so long unnoticed in a chest or cupboard in the 
vestry while the work was going on that they were 
not at first forthcoming ; and indeed one only have 
6 



1 14 LUTTERWORTH 

I succeeded in recovering. I have the pleasure now 
of exhibiting it [the paper from which we are quoting 
was read by the Archdeacon before the Architectural 
Societies of Leicester and Northampton], together 
with that found at South Kilworth. 

On comparing the two it will be seen that they 
are alike in shape and size, except a very trifling 
difference of form at the base, and that the one 
found at Lutterworth is happily quite perfect. The 
two " vials " evidently belong to the same period and 
the same manufacture. 

After obtaining the possession of the glass No. 2, 
I wrote to Mr. E. M. Morgan, who at the time of the 
restoration of Lutterworth Church was employed as 
Clerk of the Works, and from him I had the satisfac- 
tion of receiving the following letter : — 

"Bangor Cathedral, \j\th February. 

" Rev. Sir, — I received a note yesterday from Mr. 
Tomlinson desiring me to describe to you the 
position in which we found a very antique bottle 
containing the oil of organium (or described to be 
the oil of organium by Mr. Gulliver, chemist, at 
Lutterworth). The bottle was found in the foundation 
of the west wall of the north aisle of Lutterworth 
Church. The foundations were composed of stone 
and earth, instead of mortar, and the bottle was 
nearly at the otitside, as in rough sketch. — I am, etc., 

"E. M. Morgan." 

Concerning the discovery of these two Lutter- 
worth vials little more need be said ; the one before 
us no longer, contains any oil, but the scent of oil 
was very perceptible when it first came into my 



THE RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH 115 

possession. The one which, unfortunately, is missing 
appears from the description I have received to have 
been rather globular in form, but in other respects to 
have resembled its companion. 

It remains for us to inquire whether anything can 
be determined as to the use of these glass vials in 
ancient times which may stand on a firmer footing 
than conjecture. The inquiry which I have entered 
into myself leads me to dismiss altogether that they 
contained one of the sacred oils of the church in 
pre-Reformation days. 

After referring at some length to the oils which 
are said to exude from the bones of saints and their 
supposed virtues, Archdeacon Pownall points out 
that "the custom of preserving the alleged oil of 
saints has approached so near our own day that until 
the period of the French Revolution the treasuries 
of Cologne, Douay, and Tournay contained each a 
vial of St. Catherine's oil. Here, then, we have 
distinct proof of the use of glass vials and of the 
special purpose to which they were put." Arch- 
deacon Pownall then points out that we have 
mention of particular saints whose remains were 
imagined to give out a sacred oil, and among them 
we find the names of St. Mary and St. Nicholas. 
"When, therefore," he proceeds. "I am able to add 
that the dedication of the church at S. Kilworth was 
to one of the two, and that of Lutterworth Church to 
the other, a link worth welding has been attached to 
our chain of evidence. Have not we ground for 
supposing that the purpose to which these vials were 
devoted in former days is by these indicated .-^ Put 
another cjuestion remains for consideration. Dis- 



ii6 LUTTERWORTH 

covered in the foundations of the church, are we to 
suppose they were placed there at the time those 
foundations were laid or at some period subsequently ? 
The custom which exists now of placing glass vessels 
containinsf coin and records under the corner-stone of 
a new building as a form of dedication, and for the 
purpose of dating it, might suggest the idea that the 
vials in question once served a similar purpose in the 
fourteenth century, but it is an idea which cannot 
stand unsupported by testimony ; and it has none. 
True, a kindred practice prevailed, but we have a 
distinct knowledge as to a difference regarding one 
important particular. These vials were found, one 
at the west end of the north aisle, the other among 
the rubble stone-work of the east chancel wall. 
Now, whenever at the dedication of a church in 
ancient times the consecrated wafer or the relics of 
the saint were deposited, they were invariably 
deposited beneath the altar. More than this, the 
exact situation of the Lutterworth vial has been 
pointed out by Mr. Morgan's letter, and that position 
was nearly outside the building — a position not likely 
to have been chosen unless the deposit had been 
made quickly and with secrecy, as in this case I 
conceive it to have been. 

This fact, taken in connexion with what has been 
advanced before, inclines me to believe that it was 
in a period subsequent to the foundation of the 
structure that we must look for the date of these 
deposits. 

In the days when many things, holy in the 
estimation of pious souls, were being shamefully 
desecrated, when "the chrismatory, the pax with the 



THE RESTOliATION OF THE CHURCH 117 

graile " were defaced and made away ; when the rood 
loft was taken down and put to profane use ; when 
the very altar stones defaced were "laid in hiprh 
wais, serving as bridges for sheepe and cattal " ; 
when the cross itself was taken down to be "sold to 
a tinker" (Peacock's Church Furnifitrc), "then un- 
questionably were some men's minds revolting from 
acts horridly sacrilegious in their eyes and under a 
desire to save from similar desecration a long-prized 
relic of the parish church, can I conceive those men 
to have acted who placed these two vials some feet 
below the ground. The stowing of one probably led 
to a like concealment of the other, for the two 
churches are not wide apart where they lay hid, and, 
being stowed away there, it was hoped they would lie 
safe under the soil until Protestant zeal relaxed and 
ancient sympathies revived. So at least I think the 
hiders of them thouo^ht." 

We have dealt with these vials at such length on 
account of the extreme antiquarian interest attaching 
to their discovery, and also on account of the 
eminence of the author from whom we have 
borrowed the above description. 

On Wednesday, the 9th June 1869, the church 
was reopened for public service. 

The town was gay with Hags, and a triumphal arch 
with suitable devices was erected at the entrance to 
Hi(^h Street. The service commenced with the 
administrati(jn of Holy Communion at 8.30. At 
10.30 there was morning prayer, with a sermon by 
the Rev. D. Wilkinson, Rector of P>irmingham. At 
1.30 there was a public luncheon in a tent in the 
rectory grounds, to which about two hundred and 



ii8 LUTTERWORTH 

fifty sat down. Among the company were Col. 
the Hon. Percy Feilding, who presided, the Bishop 
of the Diocese, the Rector of Lutterworth, Arch- 
deacon Fearon, and others. Evening service was 
held at 3.30, the Bishop preaching on this occasion 
to an overflowing congregation. Over seventy 
clergy walked with the Bishop, and the collections 
at this service amounted to more than £200. 

The day closed with a public tea, the singing of 
glees by the choir, and performances by the Rifle 
Corps Band. 

Before closing this section we would like to add 
that the total cost of restoration came out at about 
;^7500. The debt was extinguished within five 
years of commencement of the work. 

The contract was entrusted to Messrs. Law & 
King of Lutterworth, who were noted church 
builders, and the majority of skilled workmen em- 
ployed were natives of the town. 

The Windows 

Lancet Window in Chancel. — To the memory of 
the Rev. Richard Wilson, A.M., who was for many 
years head master of the Sherrier's School and 
Curate of Lutterworth. The subject is St. John, in 
allusion to the name by which he was affectionately 
known by his friends, and is the work of Messrs. 
Burlison & Grylls of London. It was erected by his 
granddaughter, Mrs. John Goodacre of Lutterworth 
House, and Miss Healy of Lutterworth. 

Watts Window, on the south side of the chancel, 
to the memory of Mr. Charles Watts of Lutterworth, 



THE RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH 119 

who died at Dresden, Staffordshire, 17th March 1S67, 
aged sixty-seven years. 

Mr. Watts left a sum of money by his will for 
the purpose of inserting a stained-glass window in 
the churches of Lutterworth, where he was born, 
and Dresden, where he died. The subject of the 
window in Lutterworth Church is the Three Maries 
in the main lights, and the Annunciation in the 
tracery. 

This window was also executed by Messrs. 
Burlison & Grylls. 

The East Window was presented by the Rev. 
Feilding Palmer, and was uncovered on Easter 
Sunday 1885. 

The window, which is the work of Messrs. Clayton 
& Bell, represents in the five lower lights the figures 
of S. Mary the Virgin and four doctors of the 
Church, namely, the Venerable Bede, St. Augustine, 
Robert Grosseteste, and John Wycliffe. Below are 
the arms of Mr. Feilding Palmer and the inscription, 
"To the glory of God and in memory of Edward 
Feilding Palmer who died 15th Feb. 1869 and Sarah 
his wife who died nth Oct. 1841." 

The middle compartments contain : the Baptism, 
and under it, in Old English letters, "Thus it be- 
cometh us to fulfil all righteousness " ; the Ascension, 
and under it. " I do it to prepare a place for you " ; 
our Saviour in majesty giving the benediction, 
and under it, "Thou art the King of Glory"; the 
Crucifixion, and under it, " Behold the Lamb of 
God"; the Last Supper, and under it, "This do 
in remembrance of me." The upper divisions con- 
tain figures of four archangels, S, Ra[)hael, S. 



120 LUTTERWORTH 

Gabriel, S. Michael, and S. Uriel. Above these 
are placed the Agnus Dei, with two small angels on 
either side. 

The small window over the east window contain- 
ing the sacred monogram was given by Mr. William 
Footman of Lutterworth in 1883. 

The Lancet Window in the Tower, with subject, 
" Moses with the Tables of Stone," was presented 
by Mr. J. Hawke. 

The Windoiv in the East End of the South Aisle, 
to the memory of the late Mr. T. Evans of Lutter- 
worth, is the work of Messrs. Burlison & Grylls. 
In the tracery are female figures, seated on thrones, 
representing various virtues — Faith, Hope, Charity, 
Temperance, Fortitude, Justice. The main lights 
show the parable of the Good Samaritan, and below 
these the passage St. Matthew xxv. 35-36 is depicted, 
wherein those who have been engaged in acts of 
humanity and charity during their lifetime are spoken 
of in the Last Day as having done these acts unto 
Christ Himself. " I was an hungred and ye gave 
me meat ; I was thirsty and ye gave me drink ; I 
was a stranger and ye took me in ; naked and ye 
clothed me ; I was sick and ye visited me ; I was 
in prison and ye came unto me." 

The Canon Alder son Memorial Window. — The 
treatment of this three-light window in the south aisle 
is very simple, the artist having followed the style 
generally adopted in the fifteenth century when 
stained glass was at its zenith. In the centre is a 
figure of S. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin, 
who is shown as a child standing at her mother's 
side, holding a scroll on which is written the prophetic 



THE RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH 121 

words, " Fear not, daughter of Zion, behold thy 
king Cometh." On either side, beneath architectural 
canopies, are figures of S. Peter and S. Paul. S. Peter 
is shown holding a book on which is written. " Grow 
in jjrace and in knowledfje of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ." The keys are also shown. S. Paul in 
the third light is depicted holding the sword of 
martyrdom and a closed book. Below these stand- 
ing figures are three small pictures as follows: "The 
Annunciation," " The Nativity," and the " Presentation 
in the Temple." 

At the base of the window is the inscription, 
" Givinor thanks to God for the life and work of 
Frederick Cecil Alderson Rector of Lutterworth 
1894-1907 and Canon of Peterborough 1890-1907 
who died 3rd December 1907 this window is 
dedicated by his parishioners and friends." 

The beautiful tracery at the head of the window 
has suggested to the artist the idea of a tree, on the 
bouo-hs of which are seen the followincr nine saints: 
S. Anselm, Bede, the four Latin Fathers, S. Aidan, 
S, Hilda, and at the top S. Guthlax, in reference to 
the fact that Canon Alderson was Rural Dean of 
Guthlaxton II. The trunk of the tree rises from the 
canopy of the central light, two kneeling angels 
holding a scroll bearing the words, Ar/?or Ecclesicc. 

Law Window in South Aisle. — The subject of 
this window is Faith and Charity, and the inscription 
reads, " To the Glory of God and in loving memory 
of George Law of this Town, died 5 May 1870. 
Also Frances Taylor his wife died 23 December 
1863. This window was dedicated by their grand- 
son. Arthur Law of Rugby, 1880." 



122 LUTTERWORTH 

The window is the work of Messrs, T. Holt & 
Co., Midland Stained Glass Works, Warwick. 

Memorial Window to the Rev. T. H. Tarlton, 
M.A., who was Rector of Lutterworth from 1879 to 
1888. This window, having for its subject the 
Sermon on the Mount, was placed in the chancel by 
parishioners and friends. 

The Bells 

There is an old tradition that a fine peal of bells 
was bodily carried away from Lutterworth Church by 
the monks of Monks Kirby, five miles away, but 
like many another tradition there is nothing to 
corroborate it. 

At the present time the church possesses a sanctus 
bell, believed to be of the thirteenth century, and the 
oldest bell in Leicestershire. 

Of the old peal of six the earliest are Nos. 
5 and 6, dated 1640, the date of the outbreak of 
the Civil War. The date of No. 4 is significant. 
It was cast in the year 1705, and would seem to 
point to the fact that it replaced a bell destroyed 
when the spire was blown down two years 
earlier. 

The bells were rehung and the peal of eight com- 
pleted through the generosity of Mr. T. F. Blackwell 
of London in 1894, and were dedicated and first 
rung in the January of the following year. The 
work was entrusted to the well-known firm of Taylor 
of Loughborough, and to-day the peal is noted both 
for its tone and for the ease with which its bells 
are handled. 



THE RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH 123 

We give the following inscriptions on the bells as 
recorded in Bottrill's Guide to Lutto-ivorth : — 

No. I.— GLORIA DKO SOLI. 

F. C. x\LDERSON|: RECTOR : 
W. FOOTMAN AND J. H. WATSON : CHURCHWARDENS : 
J. F. BLACKWELL : GAVE ME : 
J. TAYLOR : MADE ME : 1894 



No. 2.— LAUS TIHI DOMINE 

F. C. ALDERSON : RECTOR : 
W. FOOTMAN AND J. H. WATSON ; CHURCHWARDENS 
J. F. BLACKWELL : GAVE ME : 
J. TAYLOR : MADE ME : 1894 



No. 3.— J. BRIANT HERTFORD FECIT 1S14 



No. 4.— HKNRV : MERTON : RECTOR : 

ALEXANDER : RIGBY : MADE : ME : 1705 
THOMAS : ILIFFE : AND : JOHN: WRIGHT: 
CHVRCH : WARDENS : 



No. 5.— MLKIHG FEDCBA XWVT SRQl'ON MLKIHG 1640 



No. 6.— FEDCBA MLKIHG SRQBON XWVT FEDCBA 1640 

No. 7.— T. MEARS OF LONDON FECIT 182S 



No. 8.— THE HON"'E AND REV^'" HENRY RYDER 

RECTOR : W. MASH AND J. TILLY C : W 
JOHN BRIANT HERTFORD FECIT i8i2 



The Fonts 

There is little doubt but that the font having any 
claims to be called " Wycliffe's Font " was destroyed 
in the fall of the spire. 

In 1704 a font of Warwickshire marble was given 
by Basil, I'^irl of Denbigh, and this font continued 
to do duty until after the restoration by Sir Gilbert 
Scott, whose description (jf it as surpassing in ab- 
surdity anything he had ever met with led to it being 
superseded by the present font in 1891. 

After its removal the Denbigh font was for some 



124 LUTTERWORTH 

years used as a flower-stand in a garden at Lutter- 
worth. It was in this position that it was seen by 
Mr. Savory, who at the time was in charge of the 
parish, and was by him secured and carried away 
when he left Lutterworth. 

The present font was the gift of members of the 
Goodacre family. It is of Painswick stone and was 
designed by the son of Sir Gilbert Scott, who 
succeeded his father as architect to the church. 

The so-called "font," formerly preserved in 
Leicester Museum and described as " Wycliffe's 
Font," and which has recently been restored to the 
church, is now thought to be an ancient corn 
measure. 

The Organs 

Up to the commencement of the nineteenth 
century the church was unprovided with an organ, a 
small band of instruments providing what music 
there was. 

The first organ which the church acquired was 
a second-hand instrument purchased from Earl 
Shilton, and was originally a barrel-organ playing 
set pieces of music. This throws a side-light upon 
the musical culture of the period, those who could 
play an organ by any other means than by turning 
a handle being scarce and far between. But as the 
art of music became more general, an organist was 
at length forthcoming in the person of one Phillips, 
and the organ was thereupon subjected to recon- 
struction and came out a manual, and in this new 
guise did service until the year 1886. The organ 
was originally placed in the gallery at the west end 



THE RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH 125 

of the church, but upon the restoration in 1870 it 
was rebuilt and placed in the extended east end of the 
north aisle. 

This organ was always, however, too small for 
the requirements of so large a church, and was 
therefore sold to the neiohbourinor church of 
Misterton. from which it was removed a few years 
later to Swinford, where it still remains, with every 
prospect of a lengthy tenure of office. 

The present organ — the outcome of a long-felt 
want — was obtained with funds raised by public 
subscription in the year 1S86. It cost /^ys*^' ^^" 
elusive of the organ screen, the origin of which has 
been already traced. The town is mainly indebted 
to the exertions of the Rev, T. H. Tarlton, the then 
rector, and Mr. M. C. Buszard, K.C. (the present 
Recorder of Leicester), for a really fine instrument. 
It was built by M. Gern, a F"rench organ-builder of 
great repute, and Lutterworth, for a short period during 
its erection, had the uncommon experience of a small 
band of foreign workmen' quartered in its midst. 
In its construction it departs in several particulars 
from the ordinary English school of voicing. The 
best-known devices of both French and German 
makers have been employed, while the richness and 
full cathedral tone of the English diapasons have 
been preserved. The action throughout is tubular- 
pneumatic of an im{)roved form invented by M. 
Gern, which dispenses with the more complicated 
system of tracker action, and admits of the console 
being placed in a position from which the organist can 
overlook and hear his choir with advantage. The 
organ has 1326 pipes. 



126 LUTTERWORTH 

At the opening service the sermon was preached 
by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and a recital was 
given by Mr. Stimpson, the organist of the Birming- 
ham Town Hall. The offertory on this occasion 
amounted to nearly ^25. 

The Church Plate 

The following is Archdeacon Bonney's description 
of the plate belonging to Lutterworth Church in the 
year 1832 : — 

" Two silver cups, gilt, one of them with this 
inscription, ' The gift of Gabriell Abbott of Lutter- 
worth,' the other old and handsome, with an 
ancient border. Two patens, one inscribed ' Poculum 
salutis,' the other small and gilt. A silver plate. 
A silver spoon. A pewter basin. Five pewter 
plates." 

The silver plate and spoon still remain, also 
the five pewter plates. Both the old silver gilt 
cups (the older one probably Elizabethan) and the 
patens were given to Mrs. Wave as a contribution 
towards the present two silver cups, paten, and flagon 
given by her in 1840. The silversmith who took the 
ancient pieces either melted them down or sold them 
as antiques. 

The Lectern 

The solid brass lectern, an eagle with outstretched 
wings standing upon an orb, was presented to the 
church by Mr. and Mrs. Topham of Lutterworth 
House. Upon the base, which is supported by 
three lions sejant guardant, is the inscription, "Ad 



THE RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH 127 

gloriam Dei. Presented to St. Mary's Church Lutter- 
worth by Lupton and Joan Topham a.d. 1895." The 
lectern was specially cast by Messrs. Barkentin & 
Krall of Regent Street, London, and was dedicated 
and first used on Advent Sunday, 1895. 

The Reredos 

This was designed by the late Mr. Bassett-Smith, 
and is executed in marble and mosaic. It was the 
gift of Mr. Blackwell of London in the year 1897. 

The Alderson Chair 

The massive oak chair which now stands in the 
chancel was purchased with a sum of ^50, being 
balance in hand from the fund subscribed for the 
memorial window to Canon Alderson. The chair 
was designed by Mr. Pick, and the carving was 
executed by the Leicester School of Art. 

The Monuments 

Lutterworth Church is not rich in monuments, 
but it nevertheless contains several of considerable 
archaeolofjical interest. 

And first the handsome alabaster monument in 
the north aisle claims attention. Within a recess 
formed by a late fifteenth-century arch are the 
recumbent figures of a gentleman and his wife. 
The male figure is clad in armour, but covered with 
a mantle, and from the short hair and pointed toes 
would appear to represent a gentleman, possibly of 



128 LUTTERWORTH 

knightly rank, of the first half of the fifteenth century. 
Nichols assigns this tomb to William Feilding 
and Joan Prudhomme, but upon what authority is 
uncertain, and as this couple belonged to the four- 
teenth century the probabilities are against the cor- 
rectness of the attribution. Unfortunately the shields 
with which the tomb is adorned have been defaced, 
and there is no longer any means of deciding 
definitely whom the monument represents. By the 
kindness of the Rev. R. M. B. Bryant of South 
Kilworth we are enabled to give an excellent illustra- 
tion of this tomb. 

Next in interest are a pair of brasses on the flooi 
also in the north aisle. The male figure represents a 
man in civilian dress of about the year 141 8, the 
lady's costume being of some few years later. 
Beneath the figures is an inscription recording that 
this is the burial-place of John Feilding of Lutter- 
worth and Joanna, his wife, but the value of this 
inscription is somewhat diminished when we learn 
that the inscription is not contemporaneous, but the 
work of the Rev. Feilding Palmer, and was placed 
there within the last half-century, Mr. Palmer took 
the inscription from one recorded by Nichols, in whose 
day the original brass was apparently still in position. 

On the south side of the church, beneath the 
reading-desk, will be found another pair of brasses, 
the lady wearing the characteristic " Butterfly" head- 
dress of the time of Richard IIL The male fioure is 
that of a civilian wearing the anelace and gipciere, and 
may be assigned to about the year 1480. There is 
unfortunately nothing to throw any light upon whom 
these brasses represent, and it can only be conjectured 






X 

u 

K 
u 

X 
H 
PA 
O 

Ui 
H 
H 



V^ 






s c;-' 




it nr: /^=, 



THE RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH 129 

that they too represent members of the inHuential 
Feilding family. 

There is a curious history attaching to these last 
two brasses. On the niijht of Sunday, 2Sth Au<just 
1854, they were stolen from the church. A hue and 
cry, however, resulted in the capture of the thief, but 
the brasses themselves had been broken to pieces. 
Thanks to the exertions of Supt. Deakins and his 
police, every piece was recovered, some being found at 
Atherstone, others at Nuneaton, Bed worth, Hinckley, 
and on the road near High Cross. 

In the east wall of the south aisle is a marble 
tablet inserted by national subscription through the 
exertion of the Rev. John Hampden Gurney to the 
memory of John Wycliffe. The work is by R. W<!st- 
macott, jun. It was erected at a cost of ^500 in 1S37. 

The only military tablet in the church is one to 
Lieut. Francis Burgess, to whom reference is made in 
the next section. He died on the 29th June 1825 in 
the thirtieth year of his age. 

There is one tablet on the south wall which pos- 
sesses some artistic merit. The inscription reads : " In 
memory of Ann, the wife of Mr. Richard Bridell, who 
departed this life the 8th day of February 1725 in 
the 35th year of her age. Also of Elizabeth their 
daughter who died y*" iith of Aug'. 17 19. Aged 8 
weeks and four daycs." Two cherubs surmount the 
shield bearing the above inscription, while above them 
is an urn frcjm which issues a gilt flame. Below the 
shield is a skull and cross-bones. The back of the 
skull rests upon a bat's or devil's wing, while the 
front rests u{)on a dove's — a pretty symbolism. 

A tablet to the Rev. C. Powell, bearing a Latin 

9 



130 LUTTERWORTH 

inscription, intimates that he was for twenty-four 
years " Master of the Games " in Lutterworth ; 
but the reference is obscure. On the wall of the 
north aisle is a stone to the memory of the Rev. 
Henry Meriton and his wife. This was the rector 
whose life was believed to have been shortened 
by worry over the disposition of the funds collected 
for the restoration after the destruction of the spire. 
He died on the 9th February 17 10, and his wife on 
the 15th November following. 

Over the pulpit is a tablet to the memory of the 
Hon. and Rt. Rev. Henry Ryder, D.D., Bishop of 
Lichfield and Coventry, who was rector of Lutter- 
worth from 1 80 1 to 1 8 14. 

And lastly we may mention the brass memorial 
tablet to the late Canon Alderson. It was designed 
by an artist named Gardner, and is a beautiful and 
artistic piece of metal-work of the Italian School. 
There is a facsimile of this tablet in Peterborougfh 
Cathedral, where Canon Alderson is buried. 

LIST OF RECTORS 
Rectors Patrons 

Magister Simon Capellanus, 1221 . . "j j ,r , 

, -r,ur T 11 r^.-, r-r^ J- Nicholas de Verdun. 

^ Philip Lovell, 1231-59 .... jJ-^i<- 

Frater Hugo, 1262 John de Verdun. 



I 



Godfridus, 1274 . 

Henry Drax, 1287 |-TheobaId de Verdun. 

. . . 3 non. Aprillis, 1305 . . .J 

1 In the Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers, vol. i. p. 364, 
7 Kal., Feb. a.d. 1259, is a Confirmation to Philip Luvel, Papal 
Chaplain, of his Canonry of London, the Churches of Lutterwrc 
and Le, in the diocese of Lincoln, and all his other benefices with 
and without care of souls, which he has received with and without 
papal dispensation, supplying any defect there may have been in his 



THE RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH 131 

j'Sir Roger D'Amor>', 
. . 12 kal. Junnii, 1318 



John Wickliffe, 1374; died Dec. 31, 1384 



rSir Roger D'Amor>', knt. 
-! per dimissioncm Bert- 
ie rami de Verdun. 
King Edward III in the 
minority of Sir Henry de 
Ferrers lord of Groby. 
Sir Henry de Ferrers lord 



jSir I 
I of 



Groby. 



I Sir Wm. de Ferrers lord 
I of Groby. 

Queen Elizabeth. 
King Charles I. 
"^^ Parliamentary Sequestra- 



John de Morhous, 8 kal , Feb., 13S4-85 . 

Robert Ashehurst ; died 1420 . 

Gilbert Kymere, M.D., M.A., and LL.B., 

Dec. 16, 1420; resigned 1422. 
William Brook, 1422 ; exchanged with 

William Gissard, 1431 . 

Thomas Beale, 1589 

Nathaniel Tovey, M.A., 163-; ejected 1647 . 

John Moore, 1647 

John St. Nicholas, about 1657 ; ejected 1662 j tors 
Samuel Bold, July 18, 1667; buried Sept 

II, 1677 

Thomas Pittis, D.D., Jan. 17, 1677-78 

resigned 1678 ..... 
Robert Clarke, M.A., Nov., 1678 
Francis Meres, M.A., inducted Nov. 19, 

1678; died 1682-83 .... 
Henry Meriton, Feb. 19, 1682-83 ; died 

1710 ^ 

George Anderson, M.A., Feb. 21, 1710- \^ . 

,. , Queen Anne. 

II ; died 1745 J -^ 



King Charles II. 



receiving and retaining the same and granting him whatever dispensa- 
tion may be necessary to hold them. 

Philip Lovel, Rector of Lutterworth, 1231-59, was Lord of the 
Manor of Snotescombe, Co. Northampton, etc., Canon of St. Paul's, 
Guardian of the Jews, and Treasurer of England. Like every one else 
in the times in which he lived, he enriched himself at the expense of 
the King and others, but committed the unpardonable error of "being 
found out." His property was confiscated, and he died of grief at his 
Rectory of Hanslope in Buckinghambhire. He was a kinsman of 
Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, and, as such, appointed steward 
of his estates in Galloway, in which capacity he became an intimate 
friend of the King of Scotland and his young son, who married the 
daughter of Henry III. We are indebted for the above note on 
Philip Lovel to Mr. George Lovel Harrison, the well-known authority 
on the Lovel pedigree. 



132 



LUTTERWORTH 



Thomas BilHo, LL.B., Sept. 4, 1745 . 

David Meyrick, Aug. 27, 1782 . 

^ Hon. Henry Ryder, D.D., inducted Aug 

29, 1801 

Johnson, Rev. R, H., M.A., 18 16 
Wilkinson, Rev. W. F., M.A., 1870 . 
Tarlton, Rev. T. H., M.A., 1879-88 . 
Stokoe, Rev. T. H., D.D., 1889-93 . 
Alderson, Rev. Canon, 1893-1907 
Alderson, Rev. M. F., M.A., 1908 . 



King George II. 



King George III. 



■Queen Victoria. 



King Edvi'ard VII. 



^ The Hon. Henry Ryder, D.D., who was rector of Lutterworth from 
1801 to 1814, was the youngest son of Lord Harrowby. He was 
promoted to the see of Lichfield and Coventry. There is a tablet to 
his memory, as we have seen, over the pulpit in the church ; but in spite 
of the Christian virtues there ascribed to him, he is remembered as a 
man of somewhat pompous bearing, or rather of that assumed meekness 
which gives the impression of a conscious superiority. In this connex- 
ion an amusing incident is recorded of him. Prior to his departure 
from Lutterworth he went to pay a farewell visit to an old parishioner, 
then an inmate of the almshouses at Ashby Parva. The old woman 
was deploring his departure, but was met with the assurance that the 
bishop-designate was the recipient of a divine call which he had no 
alternative but to accept. " Well, sir," was the ingenuous retort, " if 
the Lord had called you to Little Ashby, I reckon you would have been 
a long time a-hearing Him ! " 

Although not a rector of Lutterworth, we may add at the end of these 
notes that it was during his curacy of Lutterworth that the Rev. 
Hampden Gurney composed that well-known hymn, " We saw Thee not 
when Thou didst come to this poor world of sin and death." 



XXIII 
NOTABLE LUTTERWORTH EAMILIES 

I IKE many another place, Lutterworth is rich 
in the record of families who, though 
^'perhaps never attaining to great wealth or 
influence, have remained on the spot for generations. 

The earliest parish registers, which date back to 
1653, disclose names still familiar to us. In point 
of antiquity, perhaps the Bakers take precedence. 
The name of Thomas Baker appears as witness to 
a conveyance of property in High Street as far back 
as 1 3 14, and again in the reign of Richard II we fmd 
Jane, the wife of Thomas Baker, granting lands to 
William Filding (Feilding), Esq. The name of this 
family appears in the parish registers from their 
commencement, and in 1683 we find them amongst 
the founders of the Contrreo-ational Church. Mr. 
Thomas Baker is the present representative. 

The Hudsons, too, have a most interesting 
connexion with the town extending over three 
hundred years. The earliest dated tombstone in the 
churchyard is to the memory of John Hudson, in 
1628. The last member of the family j)assed away 
in 1910 in the person of Miss Hudson, who died at 
Leamington. A peculiar interest attaches to this 
family in the fact that for generations they held 

"33 



134 LUTTERWORTH 

(under the lord of the Manor) the sole right to sell 
corn and bread to the inhabitants of Lutterworth. 
The street or lane in which they resided, now known 
as Baker Street, was formerly called Bakehouse Lane 
because it was the place of the bakehouse, and there 
is a record in existence that in the reign of Charles 
II this family was supplying corn and flour to the 
Earl of Denbigh. To this family belonged the Mr. 
Thomas Hudson who, in the year 1859, presented 
what has long been described as the "Wycliffe 
Font" to the Leicester Museum. This is a singular 
fact in the light of the present antiquarian assertion 
that the so-called font is in reality an ancient corn 
measure. 

From the family of Hudson we may turn to that 
of Cameron, the first member of which, a certain 
John Cameron, came to Lutterworth from Scotland 
in 1745. He died in 1793 at the advanced age of 
ninety-one years. His descendants still reside in the 
town and hold the belief that their ancestor was 
present at the siege of Carlisle. What may be 
corroboration of this has recently come to light in the 
discovery, during the construction of Lutterworth 
Railway Station, of a medal commemorating this 
siege dated 1745. In olden times the site of the 
station was Allotment Gardens, known as "Orange 
Hill," and it is possible that the medal may have 
belonged to the old soldier who lost it while working 
upon his allotment here. The medal has been sent 
to the Royal United Service Institution Museum, 
Whitehall, London. 

We have already had occasion to mention the 
Rev. Richard Wilson. He was a member of an old 




z 

o 



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o 



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H 
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si 
O 




O 



> 

X 



xNOTABLK LUTTERWORTH FAMILIES 135 

and well-known Westmoreland family, and in addition 
to being master of Sherrier's School and curate of 
Lutterworth was rector of Desford. He was a man 
of great piety and goodness, and was known as " the 
St. John " of his time — an incident commemorated in 
the small stained-glass window to his memory in the 
chancel of the church. 

One of Mr. Wilson's dauQ'hters married Mr. 
Francis Burges, the representative of a very old 
Leicestershire family who were flourishing at Melton- 
Mowbray as far back as the reign of Richard IL 
This gentleman, who was son of Mr. Francis Burges 
of Atherstone, practised as an attorney in Lutter- 
worth. He resided at the house in Church Street 
adjoining that now occupied by the Misses Buszard 
— one of the few houses in Lutterworth presenting 
any architectural features worthy of preservation. 
He had two children, a son and a daughter. The 
son, likewise named Francis, became a lieutenant in 
the 83rd Regiment and served in the Peninsular 
War under Wellington, but was wounded in an 
engagement prior to Waterloo. The surgery of 
those days was not what it is now, and although the 
bullet was extracted the effects of the wound re- 
mained with him for the rest of his life and in all 
probability shortened his days. A curious incident 
is related concerning his watch, chain, and seals. 
These he lost on the battle-field, but they were 
subsequently picked up and returned U) him. On 
his death in 1S25, unmarried, the Burges property 
passed to his sister, who had in the meantime married 
the eldest son of Mr. Goodacre of Ullesthorpe. It 
was this Mr. Burges who built Lutterworth House. 



136 LUTTERWORTH 

Although never himself actually a resident in 
Lutterworth, Mr. Goodacre of Ullesthorpe was 
intimately connected with the place, having established 
a banking firm here in partnership with Mr. Marston 
Buszard of Lutterworth. There is a story related 
of how Mr. Goodacre saved the bank from disaster 
upon the occasion of a panic. What brought about 
the run on the bank is not recorded ; but that it took 
place is certain, and equally so is it that Mr. Goodacre 
was fetched post-haste from Ullesthorpe. As soon 
as he arrived he took up his stand at the entrance 
to the bank, greeting each depositor as he arrived 
with a hearty shake of the hand and expression of 
profound gratitude for the pains he had been at to 
come to personally testify his confidence in him. To 
no purpose the anxious depositor endeavoured to 
disabuse the banker's mind of the motive attributed 
to him ; Mr. Goodacre persisted in his generous 
interpretation, and until at length for very shame, 
or perhaps from an ill-defined sense that he was in 
reality performing a praiseworthy action which it 
would ill become him to disown, the client desisted 
and returned to his home with more misgivings 
than cash. However, it is only fair to add that he 
was accorded a little more than words, for Mr. 
Goodacre caused a wheelbarrow full of guineas to 
be ostentatiously wheeled in at the front door of 
the bank — a performance which was repeated at 
intervals during the day, the same guineas doing duty 
on each occasion. The bank survived and continued 
to flourish for some years, until it again lighted upon 
evil days, when the hand which had steered it through 
the first storm was no longer at the helm, and it met 




|OH\ (;OOI>.\< KK. i;S(j.. Ol" I'I.I.KSIHoRI'K 





I I II I>IN' . !m\ii: i\ I.I I II i<\\((K 1 II < iiri.;( II 



NOTABLE LUTITRAVOUTII FAMILIES 137 

with disaster. On the death of his brother-in-law, 
Mr. Goodacre, the eldest son of the above gentleman, 
took up his residence at Lutterworth House, where 
he resided until his death in i860. He was a man 
of somewhat eccentric habits, but in this respect was 
far surpassed by his brother, Mr. Robert Goodacre 
of Ullesthorpe, whose doubtful fame extended far 
beyond the confines of Leicestershire. Mr. Robert 
Goodacre, or " Bob Goodacre," as he was familiarly 
called, was a late example of that class which has 
happily now gone out of fashion — the rowdy country 
squire. The stories related of him are innumerable, 
but we can only here refer to two which have special 
connexion with Lutterworth. 

It was a hot, thundery day. " Bob" was visiting 
his brother at Lutterworth House, and at his sugges- 
tion, to cope with the passing sultriness, the two 
walked into the town to the local barber's to reappear 
in a short time without a hair on their heads! It is 
difficult to conceive what the qualifications for the 
lunatic asylum were in the early part of the nineteenth 
century. 

The other story relates to the visit of a worthy 
clergyman, who had ridden over from a distance to 
lunch at Lutterworth House. " Bob " was there 
and somehow contrived, unobserved, to anoint the 
hoofs of the guest's steed with aniseed. Mr. Goodacre 
of Lutterworth kept a pack of beagles at the time, 
and no sooner had the clergyman set forth on his 
homeward journey than he found himself pursued by 
the ycljjing pack. Unable to conceive the cause, he 
set spurs to his horse and is reported to have arrived 
in his parish in a desperate plight. Mr. Goodacre 



138 LUTTERWORTH 

served the office of High Sheriff for Leicestershire 
in the year 1849, and was the last High Sheriff of 
the county to have the whole complement of twenty- 
four javelin men. Owing to the escape of a debtor 
during the last week of his shrievalty, he became 
involved in extensive litigation, out of which the only 
satisfaction he derived was the providing his country 
with a leading case on sheriff law — a distinction he 
was by no means disposed to assess at a high value. 
Mrs. Goodacre continued to reside at Lutterworth 
for some years after her husband's death. Later she 
removed to London, and on her death in 1887 
Lutterworth House was sold and eventually became 
the property of Mr. Lupton T. Topham, who now 
resides there the greater part of each year. 

We have seen that Mr. Goodacre of Ullesthorpe 
had as his partner in the Lutterworth banking 
business Mr. Marston Buszard of Lutterworth. 
This revives the memory of an early member of a 
family to which Lutterworth has perhaps more reason 
to be attached than any other family of modern 
times. Dr. Buszard, son of Mr. Buszard the banker, 
resided in the house in Church Street still occupied 
by his daughters, and was in his day one of the best- 
known and most highly respected medical prac- 
tioners for miles round. He had two sons, both of 
whom have risen to eminence in their respective 
professions — Mr. Marston Clarke Buszard, K.C., the 
present Recorder of Leicester, and Dr. Frank Buszard 
of Northampton. 

Among other families whose connexion with 
Lutterworth dates back a hundred years may be 
mentioned those of Watson and Fox (solicitors 



NOTABLE LUTTERWORTH FAMILIES 139 

and attorneys), Cowdell (architect), Footman (wine 
merchant). Bosworth, Childs, Kilpack. Lea, Morris, 
Paddy, Sanders. Bottrili, Smart, Wormleighton, Ihffe, 
Granj^er, Buswell, Langham, and Rainbow. 

Although there is but one name of the first rank 
to which Lutterworth can lay undisputed claim, yet 
its streets have been trod by one who has enthroned 
himself in the nation's heart, and within its immediate 
neighbourhood is a little-known and little-visited 
shrine. At Shawell Rectory the great Victorian 
bard penned his immortal " In IMenioriam." Mr. 
Elmhirst, then rector of Shawell, was a native of 
Tennyson's Lincolnshire village, and it was to his 
boyhood's friend that the poet came with his burden 
of sorrow. The great puffs of tobacco smoke with 
which he mellowed his thoughts, however, proved 
insufferable to his host, and he was accordingly 
turned out into Mr. Elmhirst's workshop in the 
garden, which in consequence became the birthplace 
of one of the gems of English literature. 



XXIV 
WILLIAM GREEN 

BY the kindness of Major Stoney-Smith we are 
enabled to reprint from The Green Tiger 
the followinQT interesting: recollections of a 
Lutterworth militiaman : — 

" Mr. William Green was well known in Lutter- 
worth and afterwards in Leicester, where he died at 
the advanced age of 962- years, on the 27th of January 
1 88 1, He served seven and a half years in the 
Regular Army ; but as this period was in the height 
of the Peninsular War, his experiences were much 
varied and he saw much of the hardships of that 
arduous campaign. He first saw service at Copen- 
hagen, for which in later years he received the sum 
of ;^3, 1 6s. 2d. as his share of prize money; he 
subsequently took part in the retreat to Corunna, 
the battles of Talavera, Fuentes de Onoro, and 
Busaco, the storming of Badajos (where he was twice 
wounded) and Giudad Rodrigo, and (in 1849) received 
the silver Peninsular Medal with four bars — Badajos, 
Corunna, Busaco, and Ciudad Rodrigo. 

" William Green was born in the parish of Lutter- 
worth, on the 7th of June 1784, and enlisted in the 
Leicester Militia, at the age of 19, in June 1803, 

serving with them in their long embodiment on the 

140 



WILLIAM GREEN 141 

south coast of England until April 1805 at Dover 
Castle. 

"In an account of his reminiscences, he states: 
While on the march northwards towards Harwich, I 
volunteered in the latter month (April) with 150 of 
my comrades at Chatham to join the old 95 ih (now 
the Rifle Brigade). 

" Having completed my rifle drills I proceeded 
on active service. An expedition under the command 
of General Don was being fitted out for Germany, 
and we embarked and sailed from Ramsgate on the 
5lh of November. For fourteen days we had a 
pleasant voyage, and then a dreadful storm arose. 
Three or four vessels foundered with all hands, others 
were wrecked on the French coast, and some were 
driven back to England. The gale continued for 
two days. During the night a vessel fouled us and 
did considerable damage, the coppers were washed 
overboard, and when daylight broke we found we 
were close to the island of Hclicroland, and next 
day landed at Cooks haven (? Cuxhaven) in Low 
Germany, from whence we marched to Bremen. 
After a short stay we again embarked at the latter 
end of January 1806 at Cuxhaven without having 
seen any fighting, and after a rough voyage reached 
Yarmouth Roads, where as a climax to our mis- 
fortunes the ship went down. The pilot who had 
come on board succeeded in running our ship on a 
sandbank. She soon began to fill with water, and 
not being copper bottomed soon went down. Signals 
were made with the shore for boats to come off for 
us, and eventually we were all safely landed. It 
happened that the transport was the personal properly 



142 LUTTERWORTH 

of the captain, who, when the disaster happened, 
vowed he would hang the pilot from the yard-arm ; 
but the latter eluded the wrathful sailor and managed 
to get put on shore in the first boat. We marched 
next morning to Lowestoft, and all we saw of our 
sunken ship was the masts rising above the level 
of the water. My first voyage was distinctly an 
eventful one. 

" We stayed a few days in Lowestoft, and then 
marched on to Woodbridge and afterwards to Col- 
chester. In April 1806 I made my second voyage, 
the company I belonged to (with two others) marching 
to Harwich and accompanying Sir John Moore to 
Sweden. We anchored in Gottenberg Harbour ; but 
negotiations with the Swedes proving abortive, we 
returned to Colchester. 

" My next trip was to Copenhagen in July 1807. 
We had a pleasant voyage across the North Sea and 
anchored off Elsinore Castle, and next day sailed up 
the sound towards Copenhagen and embarked in flat 
bottomed boats and landed without any opposition 
on the part of the enemy. The sailors were instructed 
to conform to our drill movements, in consequence of 
which we heard many novel and amusing impromptu 
words of command, such as 'come up starboard,' 
' fall back larboard,' and 'come up both ends and go 
back in the middle.' 

"On the i6th of August, when some 15 or 20 
miles from the city, a guide was procured and 
entrusted to me and my comrade, and we were 
ordered to draw our swords by Sir Arthur Wellesley 
to persuade him to lead on. Eventually we reached 
Copenhagen, and the division to which I belonged 



WILLIAM GREEN 143 

received orders to attack a strong force of the Militia 
which was up country. We found them at a place 
called ' Keogh ' encamped about 14,000 strong. The 
RiHes attacked in extended order, and ultimately the 
charge of the Highlanders (79th and 92nd) completed 
their rout, and they dispersed. They could not run 
far as (except the officers) they were all shod with 
wooden shoes. I believe they were all taken 
prisoners. That night, while on sentry go at 
Rosskeel, I saw the light which announced that 
Copenhagen was on fire ; at first I thought it was 
the rising moon, 

" I embarked on board the Agamemnon (64 
guns), which had been severely handled at Trafalgar 
and still showed signs of it, and landed at midnight 
in lighters at Dover. We could not get billets there, 
and in consequence marched to our old quarters — 
Hythe barracks — some 12 miles away. After a short 
stay we marched to Colchester. 

"In April 1808 we marched to Portsmouth, and 
then sailed from Spithead for Spain. Fortune again 
did not favour us with a pleasant voyage, and we 
were forced by stress of weather to put into Vigo Bay 
in the north of Spain. We then sailed for the 
Burling Lslands, and landed at a place called Vimiero 
on the 28th of August — seven days after the famous 
battle had taken place between Sir Arthur Wellesley 
and General Junot. An armistice had been declared, 
and ultimately Junot withdrew his troops to Lisbon 
and embarked on board our shi[)ping and returned 
to France. 

"After they had sailed we crossed the river Tagus 
in boats, and marched to Salamanca in Spain. The 



144 LUTTERWORTH 

army was about 25,000, under the command of 
General Sir John Moore. We lay in convents. 
After a stay of about two months we marched farther 
into Spain and were accommodated in the villages. 
One moonlight night we were ordered under arms 
and had marched some 7 or 8 miles when we were 
met by a Spanish guide, and orders were given to 
march to our respective cantonments. Thus com- 
menced the ever-memorable retreat to Corunna. It 
commenced on the 23rd of December 1808 ; a lot of 
snow had fallen, and as one of the regiments of the 
Light Division, it fell to our lot to cover the retreat 
of the army. 

" Soon the French Cavalry, pushed forward by 
Marshal Soult, were close up to our rear and teasing 
us from morning until night. Their cavalry had a 
rifleman mounted behind each dragoon, who dis- 
mounted from time to time when opportunity occurred 
or suitable cover (bushes, rocks, etc.) presented itself, 
and fired a few shots at our rear-guard, obliging us 
to do the same thinor. We had used to laugh to 
see the rifleman run to the road, put his foot into 
the stirrup, mount behind the dragoon, and gallop 
off — for many days it was sport, and we served off 
several of these fellows ; but it soon got tiring and 
monotonous, especially as afterwards we had to run 
to get up with the regiment. 

" It was a long march to Corunna — a good 250 
English miles. We had no tents ; each man carried 
his own blanket ; we always marched from daylight 
to dusk, and for rations bullocks were driven before 
us and slaughtered as they were needed, and conse- 
quently had little or no fat on them, and were very 



Wir.LIAM GREEN 145 

tough. However, we counted more on the soup, if 
we had time to boil our mess well. It was not often 
we could do this, as we had no shelter and we seldom 
halted for more than two hours, and, having to seek 
wood and water, very often the order to get under arms 
would come before we had time to cook our victuals. 
Many days we had no bread, and our spirits got very 
low with hunger and fatigue. 

" We had to muffle the gun wheels with grass, or 
anything else we could find, to prevent the enemy 
hearing us move, as well as lighting large fires, while 
we silently stole off in the darkness. This was the 
game we had to play many nights, as the French 
advance euard was seldom more than half a mile 
behind. Our captains were all mounted, but the 
lieutenants had to walk, and I have seen some of 
them moving along fast asleep until they jostled into 
some of the men and awoke. As the roads were 
very bad, our rate of progress was slow, I think not 
more than two miles per hour. Our colonel had 
orders for us to throw away our knapsacks, but we 
were to keep either the greatcoat or blanket as we 
preferred. We did not mind parting with our kits, 
which we left by the roadside. Even then we had 
enough to carry — fifty rounds of ball-cartridge, thirty 
loose balls in our waistbelt, a flask, and horn of 
powder, and a ritle and sword, the two weighing 
141b. What with empty bellies and an enemy close 
on our heels thirsting for blood, many of our men sat 
down in the sncnv by the roadside and gave up. 
Those who could use tobacco held out the best. 

" We arrived one morning at a place called Lugo, 
and before we had entered the place some of the 
10 



146 LUTTERWORTH 

Foot Guards were cooking with their belts hanging 
on the bushes. It appeared that Sir John Moore 
had halted here with the object of offering to give 
Marshal Soult battle. Some of the Guards asked us 
if we had seen the French. Our answer was, ' Yes, 
and so will you soon ! You had better get on your 
belts and lay by cooking.' However, they would 
not be convinced the enemy were so near, but before 
we reached our billets we and they heard plenty of 
shots fired. We got a good night's rest, with plenty 
of rations, bread, and meat, and wine. Soult declined 
to accept a general action, and twenty-four hours 
later we continued our march, after having destroyed 
by fire all remaining stores. There was still fourteen 
English leagues yet to cover before Corunna was 
reached. 

" Two days later, at a place called Kankabella, the 
French Cavalry closed up and nearly took Sir John 
Moore and his staff prisoners. We retired through 
the town, and made a stand near the bridge, which 
checked the enemy. We extended in chain order as 
it was orettingf dark, and in the darkness missed the 
main road, and got amongst some grape vines. I 
fell into a well some five or six feet deep, which was 
fortunately free from water, and before I could get 
out two of my comrades fell on top of me. We were 
pulled out, but I had the misfortune to lose my hat, 
cap, and forage cap, and the lock-cap of my rifle, as 
well as breaking my sword in its scabbard in my fall. 
I was greatly stunned by the accident, and thought 
at first I had broken my thigh. I lay down a few 
minutes, and then tried to walk, and eventually 
struck the main road. The French advance guard 



WILLIAM GREEN 147 

came so close that they were able to fire their pistols 
at our men. I was so lame that I soon fell behind, 
and dropped on the grass by the roadside. They rode 
past me, and, as my uniform was green, did not see 
me. Our men gave them a few shots, and they 
wheeled to the ' right-about.' I thought, ' Now my 
doom's a French prison,' but again they did not see 
me. I got up, but it was some time before I could 
overtake the party. Cold, capless, and lame, a sorry 
spectacle I must have looked as I told my misfortune 
to my captain, and all the sympathy I got was, ' It 
is a good thing you didn't break your neck.' 
Presently we overtook some mules loaded with some 
general's baggage, and I saw a glazed hat tied on 
one of the mules, which I promptly annexed and 
tried on, but it was so large that it came over my 
eyes. I padded it with some grass, and it did very 
well. About midnight we turned into a chapel 
already occupied by some Hussars and their horses. 
We were so jammed and crushed all could not lie 
down, but before daylight we were on the march 
again. We soon overtook a cart loaded with some 
English stores, including boots and shoes. The oxen 
drawing the carts were knocked up, and could go no 
farther, so the cargo was distributed amongst us, 1 
got a pair of boots. I put them on, and threw 
my old ones away ; but before I had walked four 
miles the bottom of one boot dropped uff, the upper 
leather remaining laced round my ankle. Three or 
four miles farther on the other boot bottom dropped 
off, and I had to walk barefoot, as my stocking feet 
were soon all cut to pieces. I was not alone in this 
predicament : many of the men were served in a like 



148 LUTTERWORTH 

manner. The boots were manufactured in England, 
and we said that the soles had been glued or pegged 
on, as there could not have been any wax or hemp 
used. The person who contracted with the Govern- 
ment ought to have been tried by court martial, 
and awarded a good flogging with a cat-o'-nine- 
tails. Next morning some of our officers were 
offering the men a guinea for a pair of boots or 
shoes. As the baggage goods had been all thrown 
away, they had none, and were in as bad a plight as 
the privates. 

"We had now arrived within four leafrues of 
Corunna, and my company was on outlying picquet. 
When daylight broke we saw the French advance 
guard come into sight at full trot, and we retired and 
joined the regiment, blowing up the bridge behind us 
as we passed. 

"On the 1 2th of January 1809 we came in sight 
of the city, and as the enemy had not yet made his 
appearance we made fires and cooked our meat, 
took off our belts, sponged out our rifles, and got 
a fresh supply of ammunition. As knapsacks, razors, 
and kits had been thrown away, some of the older 
men had beards like Jews, not having shaved during 
the whole of the retreat. And now another disaster 
awaited us to add to all our sufferings from hunger, 
cold, and the long march of 250 miles in the face of 
the enemy ! The shipping could not get round from 
Vigo Bay to take us on board, the wind being 
contrary. (There were no steamers in 1809.) 
Marshal Soult's force increased, and on the morning 
of the 1 6th it was reported he had 70,000 men to 
our 20,000. The previous day, the wind having 



WILLIAM GREEN 149 

slightly shifted, the vessels had been able to work 
round from Vigo Bay to Corunna Harbour, and Sir 
John Moore, having blown up his magazines, gave 
orders to embark. The afternoon passed quietly, 
and as evening approached we lit our fires and 
lay down in our cloaks to await for morning. At 
daybreak it was evident that Soult was preparing for 
an attack, and as we were attending with our camp 
kettles for our daily wine, a cannon-ball was fired at 
us from the French. Our bugles sounded the 
advance, away went the camp kettles, the command 
was given, ' Rilles in front, extend by lines in chain 
order.' We soon got in range, and began to pick 
off the enemy, who were double and treble our 
numbers, and held thcni in check until the Light 
Division formed into line. The roar of cannon and 
the roll of musketry was so loud that words of 
command could be scarcely given and the sound of 
the bugle hardly heard. We were about 14,000 to 
some 60,000 or 70,000, and fought most desperately, 
especially as the enemy had deprived us of our daily 
ration of wine. We were well supplied with powder 
and ball, and our sharpshooters were enabled to 
make use of the many enclosures of stone walls, 
which they loop-holed, and obtained good cover, 
behind which we fought from 2 till 6 p.m. It then 
became dark and the firing almost entirely ceased. 
We then made some fires for the night, and remained 
on the battle-field until five o'clock in the morning, 
when order came for us to move into Corunna. We 
were the last regiment to leave the battle-field. The 
French, noticing our fires getting low, were soon on 
the alert. W'c marched throu-'h the streets to the 



ISO LUTTERWORTH 

harbour, the boats from the men-of-war and trans- 
ports pushed off to the shore to take us on board. 
What confusion there was ! Many of the Hussars' 
horses were galloping about like mad things on the 
beach ; they had to be left, there not being time to 
embark them ; several were shot, or we should have 
been ridden down or trodden to death. 

" By this time Soult had got six pieces of cannon 
playing on the vessels which were at anchor and on 
the boats on which we were. We got into any ship 
or boat we could. The grape-shot from the French 
guns came through the rigging of the ships as well 
as among us in the boats. But presently a line of 
battleship weighed her anchor, and sailed within 
range of the French guns, and crippled four out of the 
six. I think this was the Bellerophon. At length 
a signal was made for the master of transports to cut 
their cables, leave the anchors, and get out of the 
harbour. We were mustered next morning — sixty- 
one men, rank and file, and one sergeant, belonging to 
the twenty-nine regiments. 

"After a rough passage of eighteen days we 
arrived at Spithead on the 3rd of February, and 
marched next day to Hillsea barracks some three 
miles from Portsmouth, en 7'oute for our head-quarters 
— Hythe, in Kent. Such a lot of ragamuffins were 
surely never landed here before. Some of my 
comrades landed at different ports, and some — less 
fortunate — were wrecked off Plymouth. It was 
nearly three weeks later before we all assembled. 

" Orders were now issued authorizing the Militia to 
volunteer, and we received a good share of them. 
We expected that we would have a long respite from 



WILLIAM GREEN 151 

war, but it did not prove so, for the men who had 
joined us from the Militia had scarcely learned their 
rirte drill before the ' route ' came for us to embark 
at Dover. On the 24th of May 1809 ^'^ went on 
board at Dover, and next morning" sailed for Spithead, 
where we received from London our new knapsacks. 
We had previously received two guineas per man for 
loss of our kits in the Cprunna campaign. 

"We again sailed, and after a good passage of 
only four days arrived off Lisbon. Our line of 
march was through Portugal into Spain, and as we 
had orders to join Lord Wellington as soon as we 
could, we had on some days to do double stages to 
accomplish this. It was in the month of July, and 
very hot ; the open fields were our beds and our 
knapsacks our pillows, no tents being carried on this 
long march. At length we arrived some eighteen 
or twenty miles from Talavera, and heard the roaring 
of the cannon. We marched the whole of the night, 
with the exception of two hours' halting for rest and 
to cook our two days' meat, and arrived about 6 a.m. 
on the morning of the 29th, only to find the battle 
had been fought on the previous day. Lord 
Wellington came a mile or more to meet us, and 
we received orders to take the advance post amongst 
some olive trees on the other side of the river. . . . 
We could buy nothing to eat ; our rations were 
scanty. We had been accustomed to a pint of red 
port served to each man daily, but here none could 
be had for love or money, it is true we could get 
meat every day, as the bullocks were driven before 
us, but neither bread nor wine could be obtained ; we 
were six or seven days without tasting bread. We 



152 LUTTERWORTH 

sometimes encamped under ' acorn trees ' after a 
long day's march. A certain number of men would 
be appointed to each tree to pluck the acorns, which 
were much larger than those at home ; they were 
then boiled in the camp kettles, and, when the husks 
peeled off, tasted something like a potato. 

• •••••• 

"We had now orders to march to storm Badajos, 
a frontier tovv^n in Spain. . . . The breaches were 
effected on the 5th of April (181 2), and the following 
night we turned out to storm the town. The 
'forlorn hope' consisted of 350 men, all volunteers, 
and six buglers, two from each reg^iment. Our buQ-le- 
major made us cast lots which two of us should go, 
and the lot fell on me and another lad (I had learned 
to bugle whilst at Torres Vedras to take the place of 
a bugler who had been killed. It must be under- 
stood we had no drums or fifes, two buglers to each 
company, and three to the two flank companies). 
Those who composed this forlorn hope were free 
from duty that day, so I went to the river and had 
a good bathe, as I thought I would have a clean skin 
whether killed or wounded. At nine o'clock, we 
paraded after dark, and each man received half a 
pound of bread and a gill of rum. We were told to go 
as still as possible, and every word of command was 
given in a whisper. I had been engaged in the field 
about twenty-six times, and had never previously got 
a wound. We had about a mile to go to the place 
of attack, and on the way bags filled with grass had 
been placed for each man to pick up as he passed 
along to throw into the ditch to jump on that we 
might not hurt or break our legs when we jumped 



WILLIAM GREEN 153 

into the ditcli. which was some eight or nine feet 
deep ; a party followed in rear with short ladders to 
be put into the ditch and to be carried across to our 
men, to ascend to the surface near the wall. 

"There was no firing from the enemy until we 
arrived at the ditch, and all had been still so far ; but, 
as the bags were thrown and the men descended, the 
enemy threw up blue lights and poured a volley 
down upon us. I was in the act of throwing my bag 
when a ball struck me, going through the thick part 
of my thigh, and, having my bugle in my left hand, 
it entered my left wrist and I dropped, so I never 
got into the ditch. I scarcely felt the ball go through 
my thigh, but when it entered my wrist it was more 
like a six-pounder than a musket ball. It smashed 
the bone, and as I was bleedinij from both wounds 
I soon began to feel very faint. Our men were in 
the ditch, and the enemy had taken the precaution to 
have loaded shells placed on the top of the wall 
about two yards apart. As these were fired they 
rolled into the ditch, and when they burst ten or 
twelve men were blown up in every direction. 
However, some of them arrived at the breach, but 
a great many both killed and w(junded lay around 
me ; the balls came very thick about us, and we were 
not able to move ; at length the whole of the Light 
Division came past us and made for the breach. In 
a short time the firing from the wall slackened, and 
those who could move got up ; 1 was enabled to 
hobble to the rear, holding my left hand with my 
right one, as the ball had entered the joint of my 
wrist. I thought I was safe and out of reach of shot 
from the enemy, but soon found out my error as a 



154 LUTTERWORTH 

shower of grape-shot came over my head and only 
just missed my cap. I had moved a short way from 
where I was at first, and had sat up for a short time, 
but through loss of blood from my wounds I was glad 
to lay down again. In a short while four bandsmen 
of some regiment came up, and, finding me wounded, 
carried me on stretcher to the doctor. 

"On the loth all the wounded were put into 
carts drawn by oxen, six in each cart, to be conveyed 
to Elvas in Portugal, some twelve miles distant ; 
there we were put into convents, each man having 
a bed. This was the first nio-ht I had lain in a bed 
since 24th May 1809, nearly three years before. 
The ball in my hand was extracted on the 12 th 
day. Eventually I got to Lisbon, and embarked on 
the 17th of July for England, from which I had been 
absent five years. 

" We landed at Portsmouth on 3rd August after 
a voyage of seventeen days, the result of contrary 
winds. We were sent to Haslar Hospital, and after 
three weeks those of us who could march sailed over 
to Southampton, and from thence to Chelsea. Here 
I remained thirteen weeks before my turn came to 
pass the board at the Hospital : there was so much 
waiting. I received ^3, i6s. 2d. as my share of 
prize-money for the capture of Copenhagen in 1807, 
and on the 9th of December 1812 passed the board 
and was pensioned off with 9d. a day. 

" I returned to my native town, Lutterworth ; 
but it was not until the year 1849 that I received the 
silver medal with four bars. In 1853 my pension 
was increased to is. a day." 



XXV 
AMOS DRAKE MILES, a.r.a.m. 

IN the fields of literature, education, and music 
Lutterworth has made its mark on the outer 
world. Around the 'fifties, the Woodwards long- 
maintained a hio^h level, before removino- to Darlinor- 
ton ; and the descendants of Mr. Richard Seward 
are to-day a power in scholastic life. With such local 
exponents as Jarman, of Shawell, John Ball, of 
Walcote, and Charles Dones, with his genial smile 
and his "chello," the musical art could not languish. 
Then, the district provided, and preferred, its own 
interpretation of the "Masters." But one dominant 
personality attracted alike vocalists, instrumentalists, 
and audience. Yes ; the memory of William Flude 
is still dear to many of the passing generation. 
Every inch a musician, eager, sometimes impetuous, 
his "verve" was an all-compelling force. He emi- 
grated, and the gap seemed a wide one. But his 
mantle had fallen upon one pupil, destined to out- 
rival the teacher. 

For nearly two centuries the name of Miles has 
been known, hereabout, in this connexion. While 
yet a child, Amos Drake Miles, eldest son of Mr. 
George Miles, gave proof of no ordinary musical 

ability. At nine years of age his recitals on Broad- 

«$s 



156 LUTTERWORTH 

wood's "grands" at the Great Exhibition of 1851 
held hundreds entranced. Scarcely had he reached 
manhood when he was appointed organist and choir- 
master of the parish church. Its restoration, in which 
Mr. A. D. Miles took an active interest, was followed 
by a marked improvement in the morale and ability 
of the choir, a spirit of healthy emulation being thus 
produced in the entire district. Very soon sixteen 
neighbouring church choirs were in training, under 
the superintendence of Mr. Miles ; and the first 
District Festival of the Peterborough Choral Associa- 
tion, held at Lutterworth in October 1869 (nearly 
three hundred voices), was a distinct success. Anxious 
to encourage the organist in his work, the musical 
fraternity helped to meet the cost of improvements 
and re-erection of the organ, willing aid being also 
rendered by distant friends. A series of concerts of 
a high order of merit was given in the Town Hall, 
the "band" consisting of Mr. G. Frearson (leader), 
Messrs. G. Vears, sen. and jun., H. Vears, and 
T. Moreton. Until the autumn of 187 1 the annual 
Choral Festivals well maintained their reputation. 
In the winter of that year, acting upon the suggestion 
of the Rev. A. R. Goodacre (formerly of Lutter- 
worth House), then holding a curacy at St. Mark's, 
Grosvenor Square, London, Mr. Miles applied for 
the vacant post of organist and choirmaster of that 
church. The candidates included several eminent 
professors — quite an array of talent — for the organ 
is a splendid three-nianual, by Bishop, with great 
traditions. The congregation, it need scarcely be 
said, is one of the most aristocratic in the West End. 
After a short trial Mr. Miles was selected for the 



AMOS DRAKE MILES 157 

appointment. From the entire neighbourhood of 
Lutterworth came both congratulations and expres- 
sions of regret. Notably, the Mechanics Institute 
voiced this feehng at a farewell entertainment. Mr. 
Miles shortly entered the Royal Academy of Music, 
passing a searching examination by Sir W. Sterndale 
Bennett. His efficiency as a teacher of the organ, 
pianoforte, and singing ensured a connexion in the 
most select circles, while his enoairements as con- 
ductor of Choral Classes, in and near London, left 
him little leisure. Nevertheless, love for his native 
town kept him in touch with its Choral Festivals for 
another two or three seasons. In 1874 the Rector 
and his friends pressed him to return, but without 
avail. The possibilities of London were too great ; 
and with prospective structural alterations at St. 
Mark's came the promise of a still more responsive 
instrument. 

On two occasions in 1S76 Mr. Miles took part, 
by request, in private drawing-room concerts at 
Windsor Castle. At the first, the Prince and 
Princess of Wales (King Edward and his Queen) 
were present, and on 26th Dec. Queen Victoria, 
Princess Beatrice, and other members of the Royal 
family. 

But, while honours were being showered, health 
was breaking. Myopia had doubtless accentuated 
a certain weakness of the lungs, and, all too ^oon, 
it was only by short periods of enforced rest that 
physical strength could be maintained. So busy a 
life left no reserve of vitality. 

After an outlay of nearly ^^700 on the organ at 
St. Mark's, Mr. Miles had the gratification of display- 



158 LUTTERWORTH 

ing its powers at the reopening, in Jan. 1877, and 
for some months later. But the "white man's 
scourge " was inexorable, although sea air and treat- 
ment brought some alleviations. Under the care of 
eminent specialists, hope once more returned. At a 
benefit concert, arranged by musical friends to lessen 
pecuniary anxieties, the artists included such names 
as Terry and Bernhardt, a striking proof of the 
esteem in which Mr. Miles was held. 

The end came peacefully on 28th Jan. 1878, in 
the Royal Sanatorium for Consumption, Ventnor, 
Isle of Wight. In the beautiful cemetery there, a 
suitable memorial stone briefly records the facts. It 
was erected by Mr. C. H. Gates, with whom Mr. 
Miles spent some early years. 



XXVI 
SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

IT is difficult to say which form of sport enjoyed 
in Lutterworth takes precedence in point of 
antiquity. In the year 1257 John de Verdun 
obtained the King's charter of free-warren for all his 
demesne lands in Newbold Revel, Lutterworth, 
Bittesby, Cotesbach, and Kesington (Cossington) in 
the county of Leicester. 

The privilege of free-warren was that " within that 
liberty no person should hunt or destroy the game of 
hare, partridge, or pheasant, or fish without the leave 
of him to whom the said privilege was granted, on 
forfeiture of ten pounds " — an exceedingly heavy 
penalty in those days. 

A pastime which goes back to very ancient days 
is the game of bowls. This has been played in 
Lutterworth from time immemorial, and the old 
bowling-green attached to the "High House" of 
the first Feildings is still in existence at the back of 
High Street. Here, if we care for a moment to give 
the rein to fancy, we can picture Sir Geoffrey and 
his lad)', in the strange modes of the thirteenth 
century, trundling the sapient ball, and later, perhaps, 
the austere rector himself watching with lenient eye 

the innocent recreation of his poor preachers, for were 

•59 



i6o LUTTERWORTH 

not the priests of old devotees of the game ? Perhaps, 
too, from his hospital across the river would occasion- 
ally stroll the Prior of St. John's, and many another 
one whom we have had occasion to mention in the 
course of these pages doubdess frequented the spot. 
Next to the Parish Church there is no more classic 
ground in Lutterworth than this old bowling-green 
with its ancient yews. 

In more modern times the bowling-green became 
attached to the " Denbigh Arms," and was the scene 
of many social gatherings. 

We now turn to football, a game with as ancient 
a lineage as the game of bowls. We have a clear 
record of its existence in Wycliffe's time. Writing 
of the death of Edward III in 1377, the historian 
laments the decline in the practice of archery amongst 
the people. 

"Every man," he says, "in the feudal ages of 
England, who did not possess land of the value of 
40s. a year, used to be required to qualify himself as a 
bowman, and the practice of archery in the villages 
from boyhood upwards produced the famous bowman 
that cleared the fields of Crecy and Poitiers of all 
opponents. 

" That art is now neglected and the people spend 
their time in throwing stones, wood, or iron, in playing 
at handball, football, or club-ball, in bull-baiting and 
in cock-fighting, and in more or less useless and 
dishonest games." 

For ages past football has been played at Lutter- 
worth on what is known as " the Parson's Leys." A 
hundred and fifty years ago it was the custom to play 
football here every Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock. 



SPORTS AND TASTDIES i6i 

It was a rough-and-tumble game that was played, and 
had little affinity to the scientific game of to-day. 
The football itself was the joint product of the 
shoemaker, who found the leather, and the butcher, 
who supplied the bladder. 

Another sport held in great esteem by our fore- 
fathers was prize-fighting. Under this heading we 
may include pugilistic encounters of all sorts, whether 
for money or in settlement of some dispute. In 
Lutterworth certain fields were set apart for these 
encounters, which were conducted with something 
akin to legal sanction. 

When the parish was enclosed in 1790 a parcel 
of land adjoining the Gilmorton Road was left un- 
enclosed. This was the local arena. This piece of 
land, now converted into allotment ground, is situated 
exactly opposite the Police Station, and was in olden 
times called the " Bull P"ield " because a bull, the 
common property of the parishioners for breeding 
purposes, was kept there. 

Prize-fights were frequently organized with 
champions of neighbouring villages, and at times 
the sport soared above the level of drunken fisti- 
cuffs into the realm of "the noble art of self- 
defence." 

The Mill Meadow just over the Swift Bridge was 
the scene of memorable fights, as was also the top 
of the hill on the Rugby Road. 

We of to-day have come to regard such exhibitions 
as brutal and degrading, but, for all that, they served 
a purpose in the history of our nation, and were the 
school in which was nurtured that "indomitable 
pluck " which, under Wellington, wiped out the Grand 
II 



1 62 LUTTERWORTH 

Army of France and led to the peace of Europe and 
the predominance of Great Britain. 

Thomas Winter, better known as "Tom Spring," 
the first great champion prize-fighter, was connected 
by marriage with, and well known in, Lutterworth, 
and was an ancestor of Mr. T. C. Bodycote, who 
possesses a fine portrait of him. 

Lutterworth also enjoyed another sport now 
entirely vanished, namely, the hunting of ducks by 
trained dogs. This was carried on in the old mill 
stream. Duck-hunting meetings were of frequent 
occurrence here in the cold weather, and were largely 
attended. Both dogs and ducks were brought from 
the neighbouring districts. The former were confined 
in a yard on the banks of the stream known as the 
*' Dog Yard," which continued in existence until the 
coming of the Great Central Railway and the diversion 
of the stream. The ducks were liberated and hunted 
by the dogs in heats, the dog killing the largest 
number being declared the winner of the first prize. 
As was usual in olden times, a convivial evening 
followed the gathering. 

It is possible that the sport led to the establish- 
ment of a special breed of spaniel, for in a book 
published in 1906 called The Sporting Spaniel, by 
C. A. Phillips and R. Claude Crane, we read — 

" In the early part of the last century Lord Rivers 
is spoken of as having a well-known strain of Black 
and White Cocker Spaniels, which were much prized 
on account of their working qualities : but of these 
unfortunately no further description is given from 
which we are enabled to form any opinion, and 
although the Black Spaniel is spoken of by Arcussia 



SPORTS AND PASTIMES 163 

in the sixteenth century, the first really authentic 
knowledee we have of a definite strain is that of the 
Lutterworth breed in Leicestershire, which was the 
possession of Mr. Footman. It was from this strain 
Mr. F. Burdett founded his kennel of Black Cockers, 
and from this foundation have sprung the various 
strains of the Cocker and Field Spaniels of the 
present time." 



XXVII 
CRICKET 

TO such eminence in the realm of cricket has 
Lutterworth attained that the subject demands 
a section to itself. 

Unfortunately no record has been preserved of 
the founding of the Lutterworth Cricket Club, but a 
diligent search of the files of the Leicester Journal 
discloses the fact that a match was played between 
Lutterworth and Rugby on the school ground at 
Rugby as far back as 1839, resulting in a victory to 
the home team. 

Misterton Park, the " Hawk's Nest Meadow," 

on the Gilmorton Road, and " Illiffs Field," on the 

Coventry Road, were among the first playing- 

grounds of the Club, and it was not until about 

the year 1850 that it settled down in its present 

quarters near the Rectory. In its earlier days 

in its new home the field was let to one Tom 

West, who was accustomed annually to lay it 

to hay, and in consequence the commencement 

of the cricket season had to be deferred until 

the hay was carried — often not until the month 

of July. In the early 'seventies the Club itself 

became tenant of the field, and the game has 

164 



CRICKET 165 

flourished there ever since on a well-kept ground all 
the season through. 

In the year 1843 there came into the district a 
gentleman destined to have a great influence upon 
the cricket of the town and neio^hbourhood, in the 
person of the Rev. Edward Elmhirst, the friend of 
Tennyson, a fine all-round sportsman and rare 
example of the old English gentleman. Before 
coming to reside at Shawell Rectory Mr, Elmhirst 
had been a member of the Cambridge University 
Eleven, and in 1S4S kept wicket for the Gentlemen 
of England z'. the Players in their annual match at 
Lord's. 

The accession of this stalwart player resulted 
in Lutterworth's memorable victory over Leicester 
in 1850, when, disposing of their opponents for 39 
runs, they scored 248. ]\Ir. Elmhirst played a fine 
innings of 106, supported by Tom Dickins with 47. 
On this occasion, according to a contemporary 
report, "the straight underhand bowling of Mr. 
Buswell and the slow over-hand — not to say 'over- 
shoulder' — of Mr. Read lowered the wickets of the 
Leicester Gentlemen for more than ordinary short 
score." 

But, great as was this feat, it was to be outshone 
by the classic victory of 1859, when Lutterworth 
went forth and inflicted upon the whole county an 
almost equally crushing defeat. Fortunately we 
are able to furnish our readers with the full score 
of this remarkable match. It was played in the 
month of August 1859, upon Barker's ground in 
the Ilumbcrstone Road, Leicester (a site now 
long since covered with streets and houses), and 



1 66 



LUTTERWORTH 



resulted in a victory for Lutterworth by an innings 
and 143 runs. 



LUTTERWORTH 

The Rev. E. Elmhirst, c Martin, b Storey, jun, 
M. T. Martin, Esq., c Mitchell, b Davis . 
J. T. Beasley, Esq., b Mitchell . 
F. Watson, Esq., not out .... 
J. Buswell, b Monson .... 

F. W. Goodacre, Esq., c Storey, b Monson 
W. H. Longhurst, Esq., c Mitchell, b Rowley 
J. Fisher, Esq., c Lester, b Rowley 
F. Buszard, Esq., b. Mitchell 
T. H. Watson, Esq., b Rowley . 
W. Read, c Martin, b Mitchell . 
H. Watson, Esq., b Mitchell 

Byes 6, Leg-byes 5, Wides 14 

Total 



8 

30 
o 

170 

24 

4 

13 
I 

5 
o 
o 
2 

25 

282 



LEICESTERSHIRE 

First Innmgs 

W. E. White, Esq., b Martin i? 

The Rev. R. Rowley, b Read 4 

H. J. Davis, Esq., nm out o 

J. Storey, Esq., jun., ill 5 

Hon. D. Monson, c Buswell, b Martin .... 4 

R. A. H. Mitchell, Esq., b Martin 6 

W. R. Martin, Esq., c and b Martin 4 

A. L. Phillips, Esq., b Buswell 5 

A. Lester, Esq., b Martin o 

J. Storey, Esq., run out 3 

F. H. Paget, Esq., not out 16 

The Rev. — Sharp, c T. H. Watson, b Martin . . 2 

Bye I, Wides 2 3 

Total. ... 69 



CRICKET 



167 



Second Innings 

W. E. While, Esq., c Martin, b Read 
The Rev. R. Rowley, c Goodacre, b Read 

H. J. Davis, Esq., not out 

J. Storey, Esq., jun., ill 

Hon. D. Monson, b Martin .... 
R. A. H. Mitchell, Esq., c H. Watson, b Beasley 
W. R. Martin, Esq., run out .... 
A. L. Phillips, Esq., c F. Watson, b Read 
A. Lester, Esq., absent 
J. Storey, Esq., Ibw, Read 
F. H. Paget, Esq., b Read 
Rev. — Sharp, b Martin . 

Byes 2, Leg-byes 2, Wides 2 



Total 



I 

15 
4 
o 

2 

14 
iS 

5 
o 

3 
o 
2 

6 



70 



The correspondent of the Leicester Journal, who 
waxes facetious, tells how the County Hon. Secretary 
had to ransack, not merely the whole of the county 
to find a team worthy to meet the men of Lutter- 
worth, but to go out into the adjacent counties to 
supplement his own. Surely there is material here 
for a local epic, and Lutterworth has risen to the 
occasion. 

THE FLANNELLED "FLOWER OF LUTTERWORTH" 



The golden moon had b.ircly set, 
And Night to Morning given birth, 
When through the silent street there passed 
The flannelled " Flower of Lutterworth." 



No trumpet brayed ; no tocsin rang ; 
No warrior gave his battle rail : 
Their arms in carpet-bag they bore — 
A willow wand — a leather ball I 



1 68 LUTTERWORTH 

3 

The day wore on from hour to hour, 

And busy Rumour went and came, 

But when the shades of evening fell 

The quest was still " How goes the game?" 

4 

At length a mighty shout arose, 
The news leapt forth from tongue to tongue ; 
It reached " The Fox " ; it reached " The Hind," 
And high the rustic's cap was flung. 

5 
"The Denbigh" yard was all astir. 
And Ely Lane was thronged with men : 
Not oft, I trow, such crowds were seen 
In Lutterworth from nine to ten. 



Not oft, I trow, since laurelled coach 
Brought tidings of the French defeat 
Was there such joy in every house, 
Was there such mirth in every street. 

7 

For low the County's stalwarts lay ; — 
A single innings wiped them out — 
White, Rowley, Storey, Paget, Sharp — 
'Twas meet that Lutterworth should shout ! 

8 

And loud above the din at times 
One heard the name of Watson lead, 
And then the praise of Martin sung. 
Of Elmhirst, Buswell, Buszard, Read. 

9 

And late in tavern and in inn 
The bowl went round that night with mirth ; 
With thrice three cheers for those brave men, — 
The flannelled " Flower of Lutterworth." 

Between the years 1860-70 the Lutterworth Club 
was exceptionally strong. The advent of Dr. Fagge 



I 



CRICKET 169 

to the town added a fine all-round cricketer, as did 
that of Canon W'illes to Ashby Magna about the 
same time. The latter, an old University Blue, was 
reputed the fastest bowler in the country. Mr. T. P. 
Monnington, Captain of Marlborough College Eleven, 
the first cricketer to score over 400 runs in a single 
innings, was also a member of the Club at this time, 
but perhaps the best remembered of all is Mr. 
Charles Marriott. Born at Cotesbach Hall in 1S48, 
much of his early cricket was learned at Lutterworth, 
and, proceeding to Oxford, he became a member of 
the University Eleven. Subsequently he captained 
many a fine match at Lord's for the M.C.C. In 1873 
he was elected Captain of the Lutterworth Club and, 
with his late brothers, the Rev. G. S. Marriott and 
Mr. J. ^L Marriott, Mr. R. W. Gillespie-Stainton, 
Alfred Buswell, T. Green, and others, formed an all- 
conquering team for many years. In 1873 Mr. Charles 
Marriott was elected Captain of the County Club, and 
continued to successfully fill that post for fourteen years, 
ranking as one of the finest batsmen in the county. 
For some years he and his brothers and Alfred Buswell 
formed the backbone of the county team. 

Although it cannot be asserted that the Lutter- 
worth Club has in recent years maintained its former 
high standard, yet it has produced more than one 
fine cricketer, and at the present day Lutterworth is 
proud to claim as one of its sons the well-known 
county and international cricketer J. II. King. 

Among those whose names appear in ihe earlier 
records of the Club was Mr. John Parsons Cook, 
whose tragic end leads us to our next section. 



XXVIII 

THE MURDER OF JOHN PARSONS 

COOK 

IT is a big drop from the heroics of the last 
section to the sordid crime which forms the 
subject of the present. But this world is full 
of contrasts, and the faithful historian knows no 
partiality. 

Among the earlier members of the Town Cricket 
Club, as we have said, was John Parsons Cook, and 
between the years 1850 and 1855 the Club had few 
keener supporters. He was a native of Catthorpe, 
a village about five miles distant, and son of a land- 
owner there. Educated at Rugby, he was destined 
for the law, for which learned profession, however, 
he failed to qualify. Both his father and his mother 
died during his minority, and on attaining the 
age of twenty-one years he found himself possessed 
of a fortune of some ^15,000. At this time he was 
making his home with Dr. William Henry Jones, 
a surgeon living in a house in Lutterworth at the 
bottom of High Street, now known as "The 
Springs " on account of an abundant supply of water 
which passes through the premises. 

Mr. Cook took an active part in the social life of 

the town, and was widely known and respected. He 

170 



THE MURDER OF JOHN PARSONS COOK 171 

was a first-rate cricketer, a capital oar, and hunted 
regulaHy with the neighbouring packs. Stories of 
his HberaHtv to workino;--men members of the Cricket 
Club are still remenibered, and he had many friends. 
In person he was a fine, gentlemanly looking young 
fellow. 

Remembering the circumstances in which he was 
placed, it is not perhaps surprising to find that he 
became connected with the turf, and at the time to 
which this section relates owned a few racehorses 
and betted rather heavily. Amongst the acquaint- 
ances which he formed in racinfT circles was a Dr. 
Palmer, a surgeon in practice at Rugeley, who also 
owned racehorses and was a most desperate gambler. 

In tlie month of November 1855 Mr. Cook 
owned a horse named " Polestar," with which he had 
just won a race at Worcester and which he had 
entered to run at Shrewsbury on the 13th November. 
He was in high spirits about the forthcoming race, 
which he felt confident of winning, and he invited his 
friend Dr. Jones to accompany hini to Shrewsbury. 
At the race meeting they were joined by Dr. Palmer 
and a Mr. Read, who acted as a sort of private 
secretary to Mr. Cook, settling his betting accounts 
when he did not do so himself. Mr. Fisher, a turf 
commission agent, was one of the party, as was also 
Mr. George Herring, who afterwards became the 
noted millionaire. 

The race in which the party were interested came 
off about 3 o'clock, Polestar winning easily. This 
meant a good deal to Mr. Cook, who had betted 
heavily upon his own horse. His book showed 
/^2 200, and the stake won was of the value of ^^424. 



172 LUTTERWORTH 

Mr. Cook was naturally elated, and Dr. Jones 
records that for some moments after the race he 
was so overcome with emotion that he could not 
speak. Next day the party met again at the Raven 
Hotel, Shrewsbury, and dined there in celebration 
of the victory of the previous day, Dr. Jones leaving 
immediately afterwards for Lutterworth. 

At the dinner Mr. Cook asked Dr. Palmer to 
have some brandy and soda, to which the latter 
replied, " I won't have mine until you've drunk yours." 
Cook thereupon answered, " Lll drink mine at 
once," which he proceeded to do. 

A minute or two later he said, "There's some- 
thing in it which burns my throat dreadfully." 

Palmer examined the glass and declared that 
there had been nothing wrong with the contents, but 
subsequently Mr. Cook informed Mr. Read that he 
was feeling very ill and handed over to him the money 
he had on his person, some ii'700 or /^8oo in notes, 
with instructions to take care of it. Later the party 
proceeded to Rugeley, Mr. Cook staying at the 
"Talbot Arms" where he was well known. Here 
he continued seriously ill, and Dr. Palmer, whose 
house was opposite, tended him, affecting the greatest 
concern. It is true he called in another physician, 
an aged practitioner over eighty years of age, but, 
as the evidence subsequently taken clearly disclosed, 
he insisted upon administering all the medicines 
himself and into each dose placed a deadly poison, 
as he had done into the brandy and soda at Shrews- 
bury. Up to this point there appears to have been 
no suspicion of the diabolical plot to which the 
unfortunate young man was to fall a victim. Palmer 



THE MURDER OF JOHN PARSONS COOK 173 

attended him and waited upon him with the greatest 
solicitude, but it was observed that after each fresh 
dose of medicine the patient became worse. 

At this stage (Sunday the i8th November) 
Pahner wrote two urgent letters to Lutterworth, one 
addressed to Dr. Jones and the other to Mr. William 
Footman of High Street, an intimate friend of the 
prostrate man. The letter to Dr. Jones was pro- 
duced at the great trial at the Old Bailey where the 
murderer was convicted, and that to Mr. P^ootman is 
still preserved, and by the kindness of ]\Irs. Footman 
we are enabled to give a copy of it. 

After fifty years it is much faded. It is written 
on one side of a small piece of paper, now yellow 
with age, and reads as follows : — 

" Mv DEAR Sir, — Mr. Cook was taken ill at 
Shrewsbury and obliged to call in a medical man. 
Since then he has been confined to his bed with a 
very severe bilious attack combined with diarrhoea, 
and I think it is advisable for you to come and see 
him as soon as possible. — Yours faithfully, 

" Wm. Palmer 

••RUGELEY, Nov. 18, 1855. 

"Mr. Footman" 

Dr. Jones was ill on Monday, and consequently 
unable to go to Rugeley until Tuesday, when he found 
his young friend in bed at the "Talbot Arms" and 
apparently more comfortable than he had been for 
some time. The same evening, however, following 
the administration of two pills by Palmer, Cook was 
seized with sudden pains, and died in agony. 

Palmer's conduct during the last days of his 
victim's life had an important bearing upon the result 



174 LUTTERWORTH ^ 

of his trial. It subsequently transpired that on the 
Monday he had rushed up to London for " settling 
day," and by means of a forged letter had obtained 
all the bets and stakes which Mr. Cook had won at 
the Shrewsbury races. Then, taking express train, 
he had reached home the same night and at once 
purchased three grains of strychnine from one of the 
two local chemists, acquiring another six grains the 
next morning from the other. With these he com- 
pleted his deadly work. 

Palmer's behaviour at the inquest first brought 
suspicion to his door. The jar containing the organs 
for analysis was evidently a matter of concern to him, 
and he went the length of offering the postboy who 
drove the carriage containing it to Stafford ^lo to 
upset and smash it. Further, between each adjourn- 
ment of the inquest, he sent the Coroner presents of 
game and fish, but this device was of no avail, and 
the Coroner's jury found him guilty of the murder of 
his former friend. By a subsequent Coroner's jury 
Palmer was also found to have murdered his wife, 
Anne Palmer, in 1854, and his brother, Walter Palmer, 
in 1855. 

He was brought to trial at the Stafford Assizes 
in March 1856, on the charge of murdering Mr. 
Cook, but so bitter was the local feeling against him 
that the trial was removed to the Old Bailey in 
London. It commenced on the 14th May 1856 
and lasted a fortnight, and is one of the most cele- 
brated criminal cases in the annals of the English 
Law. 

Lord Chief Justice Campbell presided, the other 
judges being Baron Alderson (grandfather of the 



THE MURDER OF JOHN PARSONS COOK 175 

present rector of Lutterworth) and Mr. Justice 
Cresswell. In the end the prisoner was found guilty, 
condemned to death, and executed in front of 
Stafford Gaol on the 14th of June 1S56. 

Such an unenviable notoriety did Rugeley acquire 
throuofh this crime that Lord Palmerston, the Prime 
Minister, is reported to have been petitioned for 
leave to change 'the name of the place and to have 
returned the laconic su^rcrestion that it should be 
renamed after himself. 

Palmer is said to have been the son of a wood- 
cutter at Rugeley, but, on the other hand, we find it 
stated that he inherited an ample fortune. He was 
educated at the Grammar School there, and later 
walked St. Bartholomew's Hospital. 

In addition to the murders actually brought home 
to him there was a strong suspicion that he contrived 
the deaths of his mother-in-law, a friend named 
Leonard Blandon, and four of his own infant children. 

John Parsons Cook was buried at Rugeley, and 
an impressive sermon on the text, " Sin, when it is 
finished, bringcth forth death" (James i. 15), was 
preached by the Rev. Charles Lee in St. Mary's 
Church, Bilston, on the Sunday following the 
execution of his murderer, and was afterwards printed 
and sold for the benefit of the Fund for Building 
Christ Church Parsonage, Leicester. What strange 
fowl laid the stones of some of our ecclesiastical 
buildings I 



XXIX 
MECHANICS INSTITUTION 

THE record of the establishment of the 
Mechanics Institution has been preserved in 
a book published in London in the year 1852 
by the Rev. John Hampden Gurney, the well- 
remembered poet-preacher who, at that time, was 
rector of St. Mary's, Mary-le-bone. The book in 
question is a book of historical sketches, and in the 
preface, addressed to his friend Thomas Edward 
Dicey, Esq., of Claybrook Hall, the author mentions 
how together they "helped to set up a Mechanics 
Institution in the little town where I was labourins' 
as curate." This little town was Lutterworth, where 
Mr. Gurney left lasting record of his labour. 

It appears that the Mechanics Institution was 
founded as far back as 1840, and when first formed 
had its earliest meeting-room and library in a house 
in High Street next to the present post office. 

Mr. Dicey was its first president, and the object 
of the institution was " to provide healthful instruction 
and rational entertainment " for the town. 

Mr. Dicey was a man of literary attainments and 

father of the Mr. Dicey who holds a high place 

amongst our present-day authors, and has held the 

important position of editor of the London Daily Neius. 

176 



MECHANICS INSTITUTE 177 

When first established, Mr. Gurney strongly 
opposed the placing of newspapers upon the reading- 
room table, as he maintained that the information 
which they contained was not all good for public 
morals, but the Times and one or two local papers 
were eventually admitted. A library was gradually 
formed, and at one time contained no less than a 
thousand volumes. After a few years in High Street 
the reading-room was removed to the Sherrier's 
Schoolhouse, at that time occupied by Mr. George 
Binns, the head master. Here it continued for many 
years until it found a fresh home in an upstair room 
in a house at the corner of High and Church Streets. 

Mainly owing to the influence of Mr. George 
Sale Wardley, the present Institution Building was 
erected by the Town Masters out of public funds and 
leased to the institute as tenant in 1877. 

As a library it has long ceased to be of use, but 
as a meeting and recreation room it still does good 
work, and at the present time, under the presidency 
of Mr. L. T. Topham, is in a healthful condition. 



13 



XXX 

THE HORTICULTURAL AND COTTAGE 
GARDENERS SOCIETY 

LIKE most other public institutions in Lutter- 
worth, this Society dates back many years, 
and after diHgent inquiry at the time of 
its jubilee in 1910, so far as could be ascertained 
it was found to be one of the oldest, if not the 
oldest society of its kind in the country. Its shows 
have been held annually, without a break, since its 
foundation in i860. 

The Society was promoted by a small body of 
Lutterworth men, who felt that good would be done by 
raising the level of horticulture in the district. Their 
names were Dr. Charles Bond, Messrs. G. S. 
Wardley, W. Footman, and J. Gilbert, with Mr. 
Thomas Brown as hon. secretary and Mr. W. S. 
Ivens as treasurer. 

For many years the annual show was held on 
the bowling-green, but this delightful spot proving 
too small, the venue was changed some twenty-five 
years ago to the cricket-ground on the Coventry 
Road, where it now forms one of the annual events 
of the district. 



X7S 



XXXI 
THE GOOSEBERRY SHOW SOCIETY 

CLOSELY allied to the Horticultural Society 
is the Gooseberry Show Society, the records 
of which have been carefully preserved since 
the year 1818. It is clear from the opening leaf of 
the earliest minute book that this book is itself the 
continuation of an earlier book, so to what date the 
Society goes back is unknown. 

Apparently some of the Coles were among 
the earlier members, if not actual promoters, of 
the Society, Richard Cole being secretary at the 
commencement of the first preserved minute 
book. 

All the early gatherings of the Society were held 
at the " Wheat Sheaf Inn," an ancient hostelry 
whose licence was taken away many years ago. It 
stood in the present Station Road, near the Town 
Hall, It was a two-storied thatched building of 
brick and timber, with bow windows facing the street, 
and standing a little way back from the roadway. 
Immediately in front stood the old public pump, now 
removed to a short distance. 

In this house the gatherings of the Society were 
held from 1818 to 1842 without a break, but in 1843 

>79 



i8o LUTTERWORTH 

we find the " Lion Hotel " appointed as the head- 
quarters of the Society. This old inn stood exactly 
opposite the " Denbigh Arms " in High Street. A few 
years later it was rebuilt, but its prosperity was short- 
lived, for it ceased to exist as an inn when the coaches 
were taken off the road. 

After a year's absence the Society returned to the 
** Wheat Sheaf" and continued to hold their meetings 
there until 1847 when the inn would appear to have 
been closed. 

Then followed a year at the "Denbigh Arms," 
after which the Society took up its quarters at the 
old '♦ Ram Inn." 

In the year 1826 carnations were added to the 
gooseberry show, and this was continued for a few 
years. 

The early rules of the Society are enlightening as 
to the social habits of the time. Members absent 
from meetings were fined is. to be spent at the 
meeting. The amount spent on drink at each 
gathering is recorded, and the signatures of some of 
the members disclose very unsteady hands. 

In the earlier years the heaviest gooseberry 
appears to have averaged about 18 to 20 dwt. (troy), 
but in later years this was easily surpassed. 

In 1853 it is recorded that Mr. Richard Cole 
had a red gooseberry ("Wonderful") which weighed 
33 dwt, but it unfortunately broke before the day 
of the show. 

In recent years a fine average has been main- 
tained, and it has come to the lot of Mr. William 
Granger to produce the heaviest berry in the country 
two years in succession. In 1901 he exhibited a 



THE GOOSEBERRY SHOW SOCIETY i8i 

remarkable example of a "Leveller," which weighed 
^$ dwt. lo grains, the heaviest gooseberry yet pro- 
duced by the old Lutterworth Gooseberry Show 
Society, and (with one exception) the finest berry 
mentioned in the records of the National Gooseberry 
Society. 



XXXII 
LOCAL CHARITIES 

IN the Appendix we give a copy of the Report of 
the Charity Commissioners on the Lutterworth 
Charities, dated the 17th November 191 1. Here, 
therefore, it is only necessary to say a word or 
two about one or two of the more important. 

And first we may take Sherrier's School, which 
has now been absorbed by the official educational 
establishment. This school was founded under the 
terms of a bequest in the will of the Rev. Edward 
Sherrier, of Shawell, dated the 25th January 1730. 
The income at one time amounted to ^260 per 
annum. 

Another Charity which has likewise been applied 
to other purposes was bequeathed by Robert Poole 
by will dated 2nd May 1699, and had for its object 
the excellent intention of apprenticing poor boys 
to specific trades. 

And lastly we may mention here the magnificent 
gift to the town by Mrs. Feilding Palmer of the 
Cottage Hospital, which has so far, we rejoice to say, 
escaped confiscation. It was given in memory of her 
late husband, the Rev. Feilding Palmer, and was 
conveyed to a trustee upon trusts enabling the 
management trustees to use the premises as a 

Z82 



LOCAL CHARITIES 183 

Cottage Hospital for the benefit of the poor inhabit- 
ants of parishes within the Lutterworth Petty Sessional 
Division. 

In 1900 the late Mr. James Percival Cross, who 
was then a trustee, placed in the hands of the trustees 
/isyi, 15s. id., to be applied for the purposes of the 
Hospital, and the following pecuniary bequests have 
been received : Miss A. M. Clowes, ^50, Miss 
Heap, ^200, Mrs. Frances Emily Palmer, ^500, and 
Mrs. Elizabeth Hough, ^^40. 

In May 1909 Mr. James Darlington, D. L., J. P., 
conveyed to the Rector of Lutterworth for the time 
being two pieces of land adjoining the Hospital and 
containing together i acre, i rood, 4 perches, upon 
trust, to use the same or the income arising therefrom 
for the benefit of the Charity. This gift jirotects the 
Hospital from the risk of being surrounded by other 
buildings. 

Mrs. Feilding Palmer, who died on the 27th of April 
19 10 at Eastcliffe, Tidenham, by her will, in addition 
to the legacy of ^500 mentioned above, devised all 
her land at Lutterworth, comprising nearly 100 acres 
on the Gilmorton Road, to her trustees upon trust 
to sell the same and pay over the net proceeds to the 
Hospital trustees for investment for the benefit of the 
Hospital so long as it shall continue to be used as a 
Cottage Hospital, with a gift over in the event of its 
ceasing to be used as such to the poor members of 
the Church of England, inhabitants of Lutterworth. 

Since October 191 2 the Charity has been ad- 
ministered under a Scheme of the Charity Com- 
missioners, which c(jnstitut(.'d a larger body of 
Trustees. 



1 84 LUTTERWORTH 

The present trustees are as follows : — Life 
Trustees: Messrs. B. H. C. Fox, J. P., W. G. B. 
Pulman, J. Darlington, J. P., D.L., and W. Abbott. 
Ex-officio Trustees : the Rev. M. F. Alderson and 
Messrs. L. T. Topham, J. P., and F. W. Bottrill 
as Rector and Churchwardens of Lutterworth. 
Representative Trustees : Mr. J. W. Sanders, 
County Council ; Messrs. G. Spencer and J. G. 
Nickels, Rural District Council ; and Mr. T. P. 
Buck, Parish Council : elected by subscribers of 
£i, IS. each, Mrs. Pryce T. Taylor and Mrs. 
W. A. R. Young, Mr. J. L. Cross, J. P., and Mr. 
J. Blakeley. 

A new wing to the Hospital was erected in 
1911-12 by subscription, Mr. James Darlington 
bearing one-half of the cost. 

The Hospital, which is under the patronage of 
H.R.H. Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, 
has proved a great benefit to the neighbourhood, 
the average number of in-patients admitted during 
the seven years 1906 to 191 2 inclusive being 57 a 
year, and upwards of 200 out-patients receive 
treatment every year. 

The object of the Charity is to provide skilled 
nursing and treatment, but not the services of 
physicians and surgeons, for all classes within the 
district, but all in-patients except the very poor 
are expected to pay at least a part of the cost of 
their maintenance and treatment. 

Miss E. C. Alderson and Miss Clara Britton 
have been honorary secretary and matron respec- 
tively of the Hospital since its foundation. 



APPENDIX A 

BRIEF FOR REPAIRING THE CHURCH 
33 Geo. 2ND A.V. 7 

George the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great 
Britain, ffrance & Ireland, King, Defender of the ffaith & 
so forth 'CO all and singular archbishops & bishops, arch- 
deacons, deans, & their officials, parsons, vicars, curates & 
all other spiritual persons, & to all teachers & preachers of 
every separate congregation & also to all justices of the 
peace, mayors, sheriffs & bailiffs constables churchwardens 
chapelwardens & stadboroughs collectors for the poor & 
their overseers & also to all officers of cities boroughs & 
towns corporate & to all other Our Officers & Ministers 
& Subjects whosoever they be as well within liberties as 
without to whom these presents shall come Greeting. 
Whereas it hath been humbly represented unto US as 
well upon the humble petition of the Minister, Church- 
wardens & Principal Inhabitants of the Parish of Lutterworth 
in the County of Leicester as also by Certificate under the 
Hands of Our Trusty and WcUbelovcd Charles Doctor 

in Divinity William Wright & William Cant John Harper 
John Simpson & Joseph Peppin Esquires Our Justices of the 
Peace for Our said County of Leicester made at their 
General Quarter Sessions of the Peace held at the Castle of 
Leicester in & for the said county on Tuesday the Third 
day of October last That the Parish Church of Lutterworth 
aforesaid is a very ancient structure and that Great Part of 
the Walls & Roof thereof are in so ruinous a condition by 
length of time that notwithstanding the Parishioners have 

Ids 



1 86 LUTTERWORTH 

from time to time laid out and expended several large sums 
of Money in repairing the said Church the said Walls & 
Roof must be taken down That by the violence of the wind 
the steeple belonging to the said Church was some years ago 
blown down which the Parishioners have not been able to 
rebuild that the Truth of the Premises hath been made appear 
to Our said Justices in their open Sessions of the Peace not 
only by the said Petitioners but also by the oaths of several 
able and experienced workmen who have carefully examined 
the said Church and made an Estimate of the charge 
of repairing the same & rebuilding the said steeple which 
upon a moderate computation amounts to the sum of One 
Thousand One Hundred and Sixty Two Pounds & Upwards 
which sum the said Parishioners are not able to raise among 
themselves being chiefly Tenants at Rack Rents & Curt- 
houses with numerous poor therefore incapable of under- 
taking so great a work without the charitable assistance of 
well disposed Christians They have therefore most humbly 
besought US to grant unto them Our Most Gracious Letters 
Patent Licence & protection under Our Great Seal of Great 
Britain to impower them to ask collect & receive the alms 
& Benevolence & Charitable Contributions of all Our loving 
subjects throughout England Our Town of Berwick upon 
Tweed and the counties of fflint Denbigh & Radnor in 
Wales & from house to house throughout the counties of 
Leicester Northumberland & Warwick to enable them to 
repair their said Church & rebuild their said steeple UNTO 
which their humble request We have graciously con- 
descended, not doubting but that when these Our inclinations 
for promoting so pious a work shall be made known to our 
loving subjects they will readily & chearfully contribute 
their endeavours for accomplishing the same KNOW YE 
therefore that of Our Especial Grace & ffavour We 
have given & granted & by these Our Letters Patent under 
Our Great Seal of Great Britain We do give and grant 
unto the said Minister Churchwardens and inhabitants 
of the Parish of Lutterworth aforesaid & to their deputy 



BRIEF FOR REPAIRING THE CHURCH 187 

& deputies the Bearer & Bearers here of (authorized as 
is herein afterwards directed) full power Licence & 
to )'0U the Respective Ministers & Curates Churchwardens 
& Chapelwardens to the respective Teachers & Preachers 
of every separate Congregation, that >'ou & every of you 
under the penalties to be inflicted by the said Act do 
receive the same And you the respective Ministers & 
Curates Teachers & Preachers arc by all persuasive 
motives & arguments earnestly to exhort your respective 
Congregations & Assemblies to a liberal contribution of 
their charity for promoting so good a work And you 
the Churchwardens & Chapelwardens together with the 
Minister or some of the substantial inhabitants within 
the counties of Leicester Northampton & Warwick are 
hereby required to go from house to house upon the week 
days next following the publication of these presents to 
ask & receive from the parishioners as well as Masters & 
Mistresses & servants & others in their ffamilies their 
Christian & charitable contributions & to take the names 
in writing of all such as shall contribute thereunto & the 
sum & sums by them respectively given & to indorse 
the whole sums upon the said printed Briefs in words at 
length & subscribe the same with your own proper Hands 
together with the name of the Parish or Place where & 
the time when authority to ask collect & receive the alms 
Benevolences & charitable contributions of all Our Loving 
Subjects not only Masters & Mistresses but also Lodgers 
Servants & Strangers within all & every Our Counties 
Cities Towns Boroughs Hamlets Cinque Ports Districts 
Parishes Chapelries & all other places whatsoever through- 
out England Our town of Berwick upon Tweed & 
throughout the counties of fflint Denbigh & Radnor in 
the Principality of Wales & from house to house within 
the several counties of Leicester Northampton & Warwick 
for the good intent & purpose aforesaid And therefore 
in pursuance of the Tenor of an Act of Parliament made in 
the ffourth year of the Reign of Queen Aiuie instituted [?] 



1 88 LUTTERWORTH 



I 



an Act for the better collecting charity & money on Briefs 
by Letters Patent and preventing abuses in relation to such 
charities Our Will & Pleasure is and We do hereby (for 
the better advancement of those Our pious Intentions) 
require & command all Ministers Teachers & Preachers 
Churchwardens Chapelwardens & the Collectors of this 
Brief & all others concerned that they & every of them 
observe the directions in the said Act contained & do in 
all things conform themselves thereunto & that when the 
printed copies of these presents shall be tendered collected 
& to enter the same in the Public Books of Account kept 
for each Parish & Chapelry respectively & the sum & 
sums collected together with the said printed books so 
indorsed you are to deliver to the Deputies & Agents 
Authorised to receive the same And We do by these 
presents nominate institute & appoint The Right Honour- 
able Basil Earl of Denbigh The Right Reverend the Lord 
Bishop of Lincoln Sir Thomas Cave Baronet The Reverend 
Thomas Billio Rector of Lutterworth The Reverend John 
Hanshaw Charles Hutcheson Doctors in Divinity & Richard 
Wilson Clerk, William ffielding Esquire Matthew Cooper 
James Butler Richard Warner John Cooper Oliver Wright 
Thomas Holies John Hague John Adams Richard Tattam 
Thomas Stevenson & John Stevenson Gentlemen Robert 
Smith & Edward Neale Churchwardens & the Church- 
wardens of Lutterworth for the time being Trustees & 
Receivers of the Charity to be collected by virtue of these 
presents with power to them or any five or more of them 
to give Deputations to such collectors as shall be chosen by 
the said Petitioners or the major part of them & the said 
Trustees or any five or more of them are to make & sign 
all necessary orders & do all other reasonable acts for the 
due & regular collection of this Brief & Advancement of 
the said Charity & to see that the moneys when collected 
be effectually applied in repairing their said church and 
rebuilding their said steeple And LASTLY Our Will & 
Pleasure is that no person or persons shall collect or receive 



BRIEF FOR REPAIRING THE CHURCH 189 

any the printed Briefs or Moneys collected thereon but 
such only as shall be deputed & made the Rearer or 
Bearers of these presents or duplicate thereof In WITNESS 
whereof we have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent 
& to continue in force for one whole Year from Lady Day 
next & no longer. 

Witness Ourself at Westminster the Twenty fTifth Day 
of January in the Thirty Second Year of Our Reign. 

BiLLINGSLEY 



APPENDIX B 
CHARITY COMMISSION REPORT, 17TH November 191 i 

In the Matter of the following Charities in the Parish of 
Lutterworth, in the County of Leicester 



Cotes-Deville Payment, The 
Heap, Emma, for Poor 

Iliffe, Sarah . 

Philhps, Dr. 

Ryder, Bishop 

Smith, John, for the Poor 

Smith, Martha, for Poor 

Vernham, George 
Watts, Charles 

White, Henry 

Wigley, Mary, and Others 



Foundation before 1674. 

Will proved in the Principal Register, 

2nd February 1910. 
Will proved at Birmingham on 2nd 

May 1877. 

Foundation about 1809. 

Will proved in Leicester on the 19th 

November 1866. 
Will proved at Leicester on the i6th 

September 1870. 
Gift before 1673. 
Will proved at Lichfield on the 6th 

May 1867. 
Will proved at Leicester on the 17th 

March 1855. 
Indenture of Lease and Release, 

dated respectively on the 24th 

and 25th March 1803. 



SCHEDULE OF PROPERTY 



Description. 


Extent 


Tenant, Person Liable, or Per- 


Gross Yearly 


of Amount. 


sons in whose Names Invested. 


Income. 




£, s. d. 




£, s. d. 


The Cotes-Deville Pay- 


— 


S. Pares 


I 


ment (rent charge 








issuing out of the 








manor of . Cotes- 








Deville) 








Charity of Emma Heap 


265 18 3 


" The Official Trustees 


960 


for Poor (India 3^ 




of Charitable Funds" 




per cent, stock) 









igo 



Description. 



Extent 
of Amount. 



Ten.int, Per.-.on Liable, or Per- 
sons in whobc Names Inve>led. 



Gross. Yearly 
Income. 



Charity of Sarah Uiffe 
(Consols') 

Charity of Dr. Phillips 
(Consols, part of a 
sum of /^245, 5s. I id. 
— like stock) 

Bishop Ryder's Charity 
(two shares in the 
cottage and garden 
representing the Old 
Lutterworth Mill) 
Cash 

Charity of John Smith, 
for Poor (Consols) 

Charity of Martha 
Smith, for Poor 
(Consols) 

Charityof G. Vernham : 
Rent charges issuing 
out of si.\ enclosures 
of land containing 
40 a. o r. 17 p. at 
Lutterworth 
Rent charges issuing 
out of gardens at 
Woodmarket, Lutter- 
worth 

Rent charges issuing 
out of a house in 
Church Street, Lut- 
terworth 

Rent charges issuing 
outofthe\'alleyfield- 
liitteswell Road, 
Lutterworth 

Charity of Charles 
Watts (Consols) 

Charily of Henry White 
(Consols, remainder 
of the above-men- 
tioned sum of £24^, 
5s. I id. —like stock) 
Charity of Mary Wigley 
and Others (Consols) 



52 



d. 
3 



103 17 II 



3 








322 





3 


313 


I 






105 2 6 
141 8 o 



99 7 7 



" The Official Trustees 
of Charitable Funds " 
Rev. Robert Henry 
Johnson (deceased) 
Matthias Gregg (do.) 
William Footman (do.) 
The Rector of Lutter- 
worth 



Do. do. 

" The Official Trustees 
of Charitable Funds " 
Do. do. 



Trustee, W. E. J. B. 
Farnham 



Mrs. Kale Fox 



Messrs. M. C. and E. 
Buszard 



Thomas 
Dowel 1. 



Walter 



"The Official Trustees 
of Charitable Funds " 
Rev. Robert Henry 
Johnson (deceased) 
Matthias Ciregg(do.) 
William Footman (do.) 

" The Official Trustees 
of Charitable Funds " 



£ s. d. 

1 6 o 

2 II 8 



8 I o 
5 6 4 

1 o 7 

046 
046 
046 

2 12 4 

3 10 8 

2 9 8 



© 



Sealed by Order of the Hoard this lyth day 0/ 
November 191 1. 



«9« 



APPENDIX C 



POPULATION OF LUTTERWORTH 



At the Norman 


Conquest about 




135 


1273 . 


• • • 




350 


1550 












530 


1780 












1784 


1789 












1800 


1801 












1652 


1811 












. 1845 


1821 












2102 


1831 












2262 


1841 












2531 


1851 












2446 


1861 












2289 


1871 












2080 


1881 












1965 


1891 












1800 


1901 












1734 


1911 












1896 



193 



INDEX 



Alderson, B»ron, 174 

Alderson, Rev. Canon, and family, 127, 

175, 184 
Anglo-Saxon period, 9 
Anglo-Saxon remains, il 
Anne of Bohemia (Queen), 42 

Baker family, 25, 26, 133 

Banbury, \Vm., murdered, 81 

BassettSmith, Mr., 127 

Beech Avenue (Stanford Park), 57 

Bells, church, 97, 122 

Berwick House (gates from), 77 

Binns, Mr. G. Atkinson, 51 

Blackwell, Mr. T. F., 122, 127 

Bond, Dr. C, 178 

Borough of Lutterworth, 20 

Boundary trees, 100 

Bowling-green, 159 

Brasses stolen, 129 

Bridge (subscription), lOO 

Brief for church repairs, 96, 185 

Brown, Mr. T., 178 

Burges, Mr. F., 135 

Buszard family, 136-9 

Buszard, Mr.M. C, K.C., 125, 138 

Cage, the, 82 

Cameron family, 134 

Cave, Sir Thomas, 94 

Chantry and Guild, 52 

Charities, 23, 108, 1S2-4 

Charity Commission Keport, 190 

Church. See St. Mary's, 29, etc. 

Church furniture, ancient, 61 

Civil War, time of, 57 

Clowes, Miss, 183 

Coach traffic, 100- 1 

Coins, tokens, etc., old or unearthed, 

5-7, 88 
Cole family, 60, 179 
Congregational Church, 61, loi, 133 
Constable's Accounts, 82 
Cook, John I'arsons, murder of, 1 70 
Com and bread, sale of, 61, 133 
Com, growth of, 87 

13 



Corn-mills, 89 
Cottage Hospital, 108, 182- 
Cricket, county, etc., 164 
Cross, Mr. J. P., 183 
Cuck-stool, 82-3 

Darlington, Mr. J., 1S3-4 

Deakins, Supt., 129 

Death-duties, 16 

De Guader, Ralph, 13-14 

Denbigh, Earls of, 4, S, 67-79, 97. 123 

De Verdun family, 16-20 

Dicey, Mr. T. E., 176 

Doctrines of Wye) iffe, 34-5 

Dog-yard, 162 

Domesday Book records, 13 

Dorset, Marquis of, 21 

Duck hunting, 162 

Ducking-stool, 82-3 

Elmhirst, Rev. E., 139, 165 
Ely Lane, 24 
Enclosure Act, 100 

Fairs, 87 

Families, notable, 133 

Families, old (summarized), 138-9 

Feilding family, 23, 63-79, 107, 1 18 

Feilding, Miss Elizabeth, 107 

Feilding, Sir Geoffrey, 26 

Feilding-Palmer family, 106, 108, 1 19, 

128, 182 
Ferrers, Lord, and family, iS, 21, 50 
Feudal period, 16 
Fludc, Mr. Wm., 155 
Fonts, 98, 123 
Football, 160 

Footman family, I20, 163, 173, 178 
?"osse-\Vay, 4 
Frescoes, 42, 53 

Game-laws of 1257, 159 
( ;ef>graphic:il features, I 
Gibbet, the, 84 
Ciifts to charities, 23 
Gilmorton watershed, 2 



194 



LUTTERWORTH 



Glass vials, 111-7 

Goodacre family, 12, 1 18, 124, 135-8 

Goodacre & Buszard's Bank, 136-8 

Gooseberry Show Society, 179 

Great Central Railway, i, 18 

Green, William, 140 

Grey family, 22 

Grey, Lady Jane, 22 

Grey, Lord, patron of Hospital, 17 

Gurney, Rev. J. H., 129, 132, 176 

Halford family, 60 
Hapsburg (Royal Family of), 64 
Haunted house, 108 
Healey, Miss, 118 
High Cross, 4-7 
Holy Thursday Fair, 21 
Holy Well of St. John, 46 
Horses, teams of, 103 
Horticultural Society, 178 
Hospital of St. John, 17 
Hudson family, 133 
Huntingdon, Earl of, 21 

Industries of town, loi 

Innkeeping, 102 

Inscriptions on church bells, 123 

James I, King (owner of mills), 90 

Jewels, Saxon, 11, 12 

John of Gaunt, 32 

John of Gaunt, fresco, 42-5 

Johnson, Rev. R. H., Rector, 1 10 

King, J. H., 169 
King, Mrs., 61 

Lancaster, Duke of (John of Gaunt), 

32, 42-5 . 
Law, administration of, 80 
Law & King, Messrs., 1 18 
Law family, 121 
Lectern, church, 126 
Living falls to Crown, 21 
Lodge Mill, and murder, 90, 91 
Lollards, 40 

London (Lord Mayor of), 65 
Looms, 104 

Lords of Manor, Norman, 16 
Lutter, Lutterberg, 11 

Mail-coach, loi 

Manor House, 107 

Manor of Lutterworth, 14-22, 63-79 

Market, grant of, 18, 21 

Marriott, Mr. C, 169 

Mash, Mr. Stephen, 109 



Matilda (Anchoress), 41 

Mechanics Institution, 176 

Medal unearthed, 134 

Mendicant Friars, 37 

Meriton, Rev. H., Rector, 96-7 

Midland Railway, 5-6 

Miles, Mr. A. D., 155 

Mills, corn, 89 

Miracle Plays, 54 

Misterton (possession of), 65 

Monks Kirby Church, 66, 95, etc. 

Monnington, Mr. T. P., 169 

Monuments, church, 127 

Monuments, High Cross, 4 

Morgan, Mr. E. C, 114 

" Morning Star of Reformation, ",'3 2 

Music, 155 

Name, origin of, 11, 14 

Naseby, battle of, 58 

Newnham Paddox, 65 

Newnham (wrought-iron gates), ^77 

Norman period, 13 

Notable families, 133 

Notable families, summarized, 138-9 

Orange Hill, 134 
Organs, church, 124 

Palmer, William, murderer, 170 

Parish Magazine, 7 

Pastimes, 159 

" Pegged" boots, 147 

Peninsular War, 140 

Petrifying spring, 2 

Pick, Mr. S. Perkins, 50, 127 

" Poor Preachers," 40 

Population, 15, 20, 27, lOI, 192 

Pownall, Archdeacon, 7, III 

Princess Christian of Schleswig- 

Holstein, 184 
Prison, old, 84 
Prize-fights, 161 
Public-houses, 103 
Pulman, Mr. W. G. B., 184 
Pulpit, church, 50 

Queen Mary, iS, 22 

Rebuilding of church, 48 
Rectors, list of, 130 
Relics, 10, 39, 51, 55 
Reredos, church, 127 
Restoration of church, 1 10 
Ribbon-weaving, 104 
Richard II, fresco, 42 
Roads, 4, 99 



INDEX 



195 



Roman coins, urns, etc., 6 
Roman occupation, traces of, 3 
Roman roads, 4 

I^ugliyt 57. 164 
Ryder, Bishop, 130 

Scott, Sir Gilbert, 42-S, 61, 1 10, 

123-4 
Seward family, 155 
Shawell Rectory, 139 
Sherrier, Rev. E., 105, 1S2 
Sherrier's School, 51, 105, 177, 1S2 
Shoe trade, 104 

Shuttleworth, Mr. R., 61, S9-91 
Simons, Mr. E. J., 6 
SfKiniels, breeds of, 163 
Spire, church, 29, 94 
Spital (or Hospital) Bridge, Estate, 

etc., 17, 60 
Sports and Pastimes, 159 
Spring, Tom, 162 
St. John's Holy Well, 46 
St. Mary's Church, architecture, 29-31 ; 

brief for repairs, 1S5 ; church plate, 

126 ; lectern, 126 ; monuments, 127 ; 

organs, 124; pulpit, 50; rebuilding, 

48; relics, 51, 55; reopening, 117; 

restoration, 97-110; spire, 49, 94; 

windows, 118 
Stanford Hall, 57, 94 
Stocking weaving, 104 
Stocks, parish, 84 
Storm, great, 94 
Suffolk, Duke of, 18, 21, 22, 63 
Swift, river, 2, 27, 36, 46, 100, 160 



Tarlton, Rev. T. H., 122, 125 
Tennyson's "In Memoriam," 139 
Thompson's /^/'^/(jry of Lutterworth, 14 
Tombs, 127 
Topham, Mr. L. T., and family, 127, 

177 
Tovey, Rev. N., 58 
Town becomes Crown property, 14 
Trade of town, 86 

Ullesthorpe Court (museum, etc.), 6, 

12, 61 
Ullesthorpe, excavations near, 5 
Urns, Roman, 7 

Venonae, 4-6 
Vials, glass, 11 1-7 
Vulgate, translation of, 35 

Walcote, William de, 19 
Wardley, Mr. G. S., 177 
Warren, the, 17 
Water-mills, 19, 89 
Watersheds, 2 
Watling Street, 4-6, 100 
Walts, Mr. Chas., iiS 
Whipping offenders, 82-3 
Wibtoft, paved way, etc., 6, II 
William of Swynderby, 41 
Wilson, Rev. K., 98, liS, 134 
Winter, Mr. Thomas, 162 
Woodward family, 155 
Worsted looms, 104 
Wycliffe, John, 32-9 
Wycliffe rehcs, alleged, etc., 39, 55 



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